Google brings Fiber to home phones, SoundCloud Go competes with Spotify, Instagram lets you record 60-second videos, Waze warns against speeding, and Smell Dating is as gross as it sounds.
Google Fiber Launches a Phone Service
Google has launched a home telephone service called Fiber Home, which, for $10-a-month, offers unlimited calls within the United States and international calls priced the same as Google Voice. At launch, Fiber Phone is only available in some areas which already have Google Fiber.
Fiber Phone offers users a cloud-based phone number which can be used from almost any phone, tablet, or laptop. There’s also call-waiting, caller ID, emergency calls, and voicemails transcribed and sent as texts or emails.
John Shriver-Blake, Product Manager of Google Fiber, explained the thinking behind Fiber Phone in the blog post announcing its launch:
“While mobile phones have pushed us toward the future, home phone service is still important to many families. Landlines can be familiar, reliable and provide high-quality service, but the technology hasn’t always kept up.”
With Google already offering Internet and TV services to the lucky few living in certain cities in the U.S., Fiber Phone turns Google into a triple-play provider. This means it’s now competing head-to-head with more traditional service providers such as Comcast and Time Warner.
SoundCloud Launches Streaming Service
SoundCloud has launched SoundCloud Go, a subscription-based music streaming service designed to compete with Spotify and Apple Music. SoundCloud itself, which we recently suggested deserves a second look, will remain a free, ad-supported service, with SoundCloud Go offered as an upgrade.
SoundCloud Go removes the ads, adds offline playback, and massively expands the catalog to include tracks from both emerging and established artists. Still, it remains to be seen whether the SoundCloud Go catalog will be anywhere near as impressive as that of its rivals.
Alexander Ljung, Founder and CEO of SoundCloud, said:
“SoundCloud Go represents our vision of the future of music streaming: a platform for creators to collaborate on; for fans to discover the latest tracks, enjoy legendary music and connect with their favorite artists; and for our unique creative community to have the opportunity to be paid for their work. We are proud to offer the ultimate music streaming choice for both artists and fans and, together with the music industry, enable artists at all stages of their careers to be heard on SoundCloud.”
SoundCloud Go is available on iOS, Android, and the Web. It will cost $9.99-per-month on Android and the Web, but $12.99 on iOS thanks to Apple taking a 30 percent cut. There’s a 30-day free trial available for those who want to test drive SoundCloud Go before committing.
Instagram Extends Video Length
Instagram is extending the maximum length videos uploaded to its service can be, from 15 seconds to 60 seconds. The change, which is the first of many being promised, will start to roll out today (probably to the most popular users) and will be made available to everyone over the next few months.
In the blog post announcing the change, Instagram states that the time people spend watching video has “increased by more than 40 percent”. Which seems to have been the genesis for increasing the maximum length, as “longer videos mean more diverse stories from the accounts you love”.
Instagram is also giving iOS users the ability to piece together multiple videos from within the app, which saves them having to use third-party apps to do so. There’s no word yet on this feature being added to the Android app, but we can only assume Instagram is working on it.
Waze Warns You When You Speed
Waze, the community-led navigation app, will now warn you when you’re speeding. This is thanks to a new speed alert feature which adds a speedometer to the Waze app on your smartphone. If you exceed the limit the app will display a visual warning until drop your speed under the legal limit.
This is a fantastic idea which could prevent you from getting a speeding ticket, and possibly even save lives. It should prove especially useful when driving in an area you’re not acquainted with. The speed alert feature has already launched in 16 countries, and will roll out to the rest of the world soon.
Smell Dating Is a Stinker
And finally, the Internet has changed dating completely, with online dating being big business. There are some extremely niche dating sites out there, but Smell Dating surely trumps them all. Because, as the name suggests, it matches people by their own personal stink.
You have to wear a T-shirt for three days and then send it back to the company. In exchange, Smell Dating will send you swatches of other people’s smells for you to choose your favorites. If there’s a match, the company will facilitate an exchange of information.
This could be legit, it could be an art project, or it could even be an early April Fools’ Day prank. Either way, it’s an interesting idea, especially as no information on gender or sexual orientation is shared during the process. [H/T Fortune]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Would you subscribe to Fiber Phone if it was available in your area? Does SoundCloud Go stand any chance of succeeding? Will you make use of the longer Instagram videos? Will you use Waze to warn you when you’re speeding? Would you ever consider choosing a date based on smell alone?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.
Image Credit: Lars Plougmann via Flickr