Stop Queuing at Apple Stores, YouTube Kids Is Bad M’kay, & More… [Tech News Digest]
Apple Store lines, YouTube Kids complaints, Google Moderator closes, Imgur embed options, Hulu GIF searches, and Game of Thrones gets a modern-day makeover.
Apple Hates Sleepy Lines Too
The whole world has looked on in astonishment as fanboys queue up outside Apple Stores for days (and nights) on end prior to the launch of a new iPhone or other such iDevice. And it turns out Apple has had enough of the sad spectacle as well, at least according to an internal memo written by Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Sales.
In the memo, Ahrendts suggests, “The days of waiting in line and crossing fingers for a product are over for our customers.” The reason? “The Apple Store app and our online store make it much easier to purchase Apple Watch and the new MacBook. Customers will know exactly when and where their product arrives.” She goes onto urge Apple Store employees to gently push customers online, saying “This is a significant change in mindset, and we need your help to make it happen. Tell your customers we have more availability online, and show them how easy it is to order. You’ll make their day.”
It seems that while Apple once loved the publicity generated by these lengthy queues, the company would now rather people bought online instead. However, this is unlikely to dissuade the faithful , and there will still be the usual number of iDiots lining up outside their local Apple Store when the Apple Watch is released on April 24 .
Both the shortages and black market buyers — and the bad publicity that these things generated — during more recent product launches, is likely to have played a significant role in this change of strategy.
Consumer Groups Condemn YouTube Kids
A number of consumer groups have joined forces to collectively condemn YouTube Kids , an app designed to make the video-sharing site safer for children. These organizations, which include the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Watchdog, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, have, according to CNET, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The complaint alleges that YouTube Kids “take[s] advantage of children’s developmental vulnerabilities and violate long-standing media and advertising safeguards that protect children viewing television.” This is due to the commercial activity present on the app, which is free but supported entirely by advertising.
The consumer groups want the FTC to take immediate action, but Google isn’t taking this attack lying down, arguing, “While we are always open to feedback on ways to improve the app, we were not contacted directly by the signers of this letter and strongly disagree with their contentions, including the suggestion that no free, ad-supported experience for kids will ever be acceptable.”
This all comes down to whether parents feel insidious advertising is more or less of a problem than their children accidentally being exposed to videos aimed at adults. In fixing the latter, Google has potentially introduced the former.
Google Moderator Is Shutting Down
seeking: google moderator, but a more elegant, well-designed system.
— naveen (@naveen) January 13, 2015
Another day, another Google service shutting down. The victim this time is Google Moderator, which will cease to be on July 31, 2015. One month before that, on June 30, Google Moderator will be switched to read-only mode.
Google Moderator was, in many ways, the prototype for Reddit’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) , allowing people to pose questions and vote up existing questions. With Reddit now being one of the pillars of the Internet , Google clearly feels Moderator is no longer needed.
Imgur Launches Online Embed Options
— Sam Sheffer (@samsheffer) April 7, 2015
Imgur has added embed options allowing bloggers and publishers to feature its content on their own sites. Unsurprisingly, Imgur’s embed options work in a similar way to YouTube’s embed options, with a piece of code used to direct users back to the source.
Embedding is becoming pretty standard across the Web, with the aforementioned YouTube, plus Facebook, Twitter, Giphy, and others all offering the option. Imgur embeds should, like everything else, appear correctly regardless of the device on which they’re being viewed. Fingers crossed.
Hulu Launches Its Own GIF Tumblr
Hulu has launched its own Tumblr which acts as a GIF search engine for its content. Called The Perfect GIF, the Hulu Tumblr allows you to find just the right GIF to visualize your thoughts, with new GIFs being added on a regular basis.
This isn’t out of charity, of course, with all of the GIFs including the name of the show and the Hulu branding. Thus, Hulu gets free advertising every time someone posts one of its GIFs on a social network. Which, given how popular GIFs are becoming , will be often.
Modern Game of Thrones Ad Makeovers
And finally, with mere days to go before the start of Season 5 of Game of Thrones , Shutterstock has imagined what the Great Houses of Westeros would be up to in this day, age, and universe. And all with nothing more than stock video footage and a suitably cheesy voiceover.
We see House Stark as outfitters with a passion for harsh environments, House Targaryen as an airline with a difference, and House Lanister as an investment group which always pays its debts. There has to be a Web series in this for someone more creative than myself. Surely. [H/T The Mary Sue]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Is it ever worth waiting in line for a new gadget, at an Apple Store or elsewhere? Should Google be forced to cut the advertising from YouTube Kids? Are you sorry to see Google Moderator being culled?
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.
Image Credit: Rob DiCaterino via Flickr