Today in Tech News Digest, Spotify and Rdio both up the music streaming ante, Microsoft is considering offering Windows RT and Windows Phone for free, Yahoo Mail fails, GTA: San Andreas lands on mobile, YouTube cracks down on gaming videos, Facebook adds autoplay videos to the news feed, Viber 4.1 is released, and the biggest YouTube videos of 2013 are revealed.
Spotify & Rdio Up Ante
Both Spotify and Rdio, two hugely popular music streaming services, have been in the news recently.
Spotify has gone free on tablet and mobiles, though with only a limited service for non-paying customers on smartphones. People using iOS and Android tablets will now have access to the same freemium experience already available to desktop users. People using iOS and Android smartphones will gain free access to Spotify Shuffle, an Internet radio-like experience similar to Pandora. All of which is supported by advertising. Spotify also announced that the Led Zeppelin back catalog is being added to the service later this month.
Rdio has announced it’s now available in 20 additional countries, making it the second largest music streaming service (behind Spotify) in terms of global coverage. Countries added in the rollout include much of Latin America, Israel, and South Africa. Users in these countries can now enjoy metered access to the Web service for six months, as well as a trial of the mobile version.
Spotify arguably trumped Rdio with these latest announcements, but both services are clearly determined to continue adding users and building their music catalogs. We have already put the two head-to-head, but which one do you prefer?
Microsoft Considering Free Windows
— Saul Perez III (@psaul3) December 11, 2013
Microsoft is reportedly considering offering both Windows RT and Windows Phone free to device makers. This move to offer these less-popular versions of Windows free to manufacturers could come with the Windows Threshold update currently pencilled in for release in Spring 2015. This is a clear indication of the threat Microsoft feels is posed by Android, which is currently the most popular phone operating system by a long way.
Yahoo Mail Experiences Problems
Yahoo Mail is aware some users are having service disruptions. The eng team is working on the issue. Pls stay tuned for updates.
— Yahoo Mail (@yahoomail) December 11, 2013
Yahoo Mail is, at the time of writing, still experiencing outage problems despite Yahoo having promised a fix was imminent. The outage has been blamed on an issue at one of Yahoo’s mail data centers, though no extra details have been offered. If the outage wasn’t bad enough, Yahoo’s reaction to it has prompted severe criticism. It took a long time for the company to even acknowledge the problem, and even when it did, details were sketchy and the tone was unapologetic. Which simply isn’t good enough when Gmail and Outlook also exist.
GTA: San Andreas Comes To Smartphones
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the best-regarded GTA game prior to the recent GTA V, has landed on mobile devices. San Andreas is initially available on iOS, with Rockstar promising Android, Windows Phone, and Kindle versions will follow shortly. The visuals have been remastered for mobile platforms, with gameplay reworked for touchscreens. Hopefully, none of the genius of the original release will have been lost in the move to mobile.
YouTube Commences Copyright Crackdown
So, is YouTube's Content ID system making copyright claims on behalf of companies that never requested them to do so? http://t.co/t32dM7L1Na
— I _ This _ Every Day (@davidsgallant) December 11, 2013
YouTube has recently started cracking down on videos it claims are infringing on copyrights, but the claims have not been made by the content owners. The videos in question are (mostly) Let’s Play and walkthroughs for video games. Content ID, which discovers copyrighted content and automatically sends out notices, has recently been enabled on “channels identified as affiliates of MCNs [Multi Channel Networks].” According to Polygon, games companies including Ubisoft, Capcom, Blizzard, and Deep Silver have all denied any involvement and urged channel owners to contest the claims.
Facebook Adds Autoplay Videos
Facebook v6.8, now with auto-playing ads … er, videos! pic.twitter.com/YBQtIsi25r
— Chris Messina (@chrismessina) December 12, 2013
Facebook users already getting increasingly annoyed by changes to the service now have an extra annoyance to contend with: autoplay videos. Having already been rolled out to mobile users, autoplay videos will now show up in the news feed for Facebook users visiting the website. While this move may be welcomed by some, advocates may change their mind when Facebook inevitably uses this opportunity to deliver autoplay video adverts.
Viber 4.1 Adds Viber Out
Viber 4.1 has been released, bringing Viber Out to life. Viber Out allows users to make low-cost phone calls to anywhere in the world to both mobile and landline numbers. Credits are purchased via simple in-app purchase, which can then be used to make calls costing “significantly lower price-per-call than other competing services.” The obvious competition is Skype, which Viber claims to beat on price.
The Biggest YouTube Videos Of 2013
And finally, 2013 is drawing to a close, and end-of-year roundups will be coming thick and fast over the next few weeks. YouTube has beaten most to the punch with its look at the top trending videos for 2013. The full list of videos can be found here, but the original video featuring dozens of YouTube producers (and embedded above) is a much more entertaining way to absorb the information.
Meanwhile, we’re currently building a list of the best MakeUseOf articles published in 2013, and we need your help in doing so. Please take part… you could even win a T-shirt for your trouble.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks
Image Credit: Fey Ilyas