From YouTube’s video embed upgrade to the Spotify Premium makeover, here are this week’s top headlines in tech:
YouTube Rolls Out Mini-Player For Web & Update For Embedded Videos
YouTube has been busy upgrading its platform with 2 new features to enhance both its viewer and user experience:
- In-Browser Mini-Player– This new feature amplifies the experience on YouTube by enabling viewers to continue playing the video they are currently watching while browsing for a new video. Similar to Facebook, the current video will minimize and move to the bottom right -hand corner of the screen. To access this new feature, hover over the bottom of a video and select the mini-player icon in the right-hand corner. From there, you can control playlist, queues or prompt the next video, through this minimized video. To exit this mini-player mode, click the ‘X’ or escape keys on the keyboard.
- Video Embed Update– YouTube’s latest video embed update will make it easier for you to grow your subscriber count. Now when a creator embeds a video on a 3rd-party site, anyone that views the video can subscribe to the creator’s channel without being redirected to YouTube. Viewers simply need to hover over the channel icon (located at the top left-hand corner of the video) to see basic channel information channel name, subscriber count, and a ‘Subscribe’ button. This new feature is a part of YouTube’s larger push to close the gap and provide more context to videos being watched outside of YouTube.
Spotify Premium Gets A Makeover
It’s official, the Spotify platform is getting a makeover. Announced last week, the audio streaming service is rolling out a refreshed look for its Spotify Premium service. The newly redesigned Spotify Premium will offer subscribers a more personal and intuitive experience through 3 major updates:
- Streamlined Navigation– The refreshed Spotify Premium simplifies search and discovery on the platform. The new look slims down the total number of tabs (located on the bottom of the app) from 5 to 3 that will include: Home, Search, and Library.
- Personalized Search– The revamped ‘Search’ page offers users a one-stop destination to discover new artists, albums, podcasts, and more. In comparison to its predecessor, the new‘ Search’ page places more emphasis on introducing users to new music by placing a user’s “top genres” at the top of the page. It also incorporates the mood and discover playlists that were previously located within the ‘Browse’ page.
- Infinite Artist Radio- The biggest improvement Spotify made to its Premium service is an overhaul of its Artist Radio stations. Now, if a subscriber wants to listen to a playlist based on their favorite musician or song, Spotify Premium will leverage the same algorithms it uses to curate Discover Weekly to deliver an endless and personalized music stream. These new Artist Radio stations will not require a thumbs up or down interactions that helped tailor its old radio offerings in the past, but rather it will be influenced by a subscriber’s streaming history. These Artist Radio playlists are even downloadable and can be played offline.
These new features are now available for all Spotify Premium subscribers on iOS and Android devices.
Instagram Expands Video Calling Feature
Starting today, Instagram users can video chat with up to 6 people at the same time through Instagram Direct. Although the video calling feature was initially launched back in June, it only supported up to 4 users at the same time. Now 6 friends can enjoy all of the perks of video chatting through Instagram, including the popular feature that makes it possible for users to minimize the video call and continue to scroll through the app. To kick off your first 6-person video call, select the ‘Instagram Direct’ icon at the top right of your feed. Select the specific usernames or group you would like to initiate the conversation with and then select the video icon to go live.
YouTube Sponsors ‘SheWrites’ All-Female Writing Camp
Earlier this month, two-dozen female singers, producers, writers, and engineers gathered in YouTube’s Los Angeles Space for a women’s only songwriting camp, SheWrites. The YouTube sponsored camp was intended to inspire female collaboration and provide women with a comfortable, judgment-free environment where they can freely share their voices and create the content they want. SheWrites attendees included songwriters Emily Warren (Dua Lipa’s “New Rules”), Mozella (Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball”), Olivia O’Brien (gnash’s “i hate u, i love u”) and Lindy Robbins (Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper”).
The inspiration behind this one-day camp arose from the fact that many songs sung by women are actually written by men. As Co-founder Charlie McClean shared with Variety, “Think about ‘Run the World’ by Beyoncé — written by men and Beyoncé. There are so many examples of that. It doesn’t mean that guys are bad. They made a great song, but what would it sound like if a bunch of women had written it? It might speak more honestly to the female experience.” YouTube’s sponsorship of these groundbreaking events has not gone unnoticed. As Co-founder Violet Skies shared with Variety that YouTube’s support for SheWrites will “pave the way and empower younger women to be more confident in forging forward on their path to be creative and use their voice.”
For more of technology’s top news, make sure you check back next week!