YouTube’s mobile app will soon better display all video formats, add messaging


On the heels of a major redesign of its desktop site which delivered an overall cleaner look-and-feel and a “dark mode” for nighttime watching, YouTube this week announced it will soon roll out an update to its mobile app, as well. The new app will better support video shot in other formats and orientations, by dynamically adapting its player to whatever video you’re currently watching.

As YouTube explains on its blog, “Who cares if they’re vertical or horizontal? Shot on a mobile phone or DSLR? Square, 4:3 or 16:9?”

The idea is that the software itself should adapt to play the video in the appropriate way, instead of trying to cram differently sized videos into one fixed area of the app because of technical constraints. When this functionality arrives in the weeks…

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YouTube has 1.5 billion logged-in monthly users watching a ton of mobile video


This year at VidCon, YouTube shared some new metrics that really drive home how much it’s dominating mobile video usage and how quickly its service is gaining viewers on TVs.

The highlight was the fact that there are now 1.5 billion logged-in users visiting the site every month. The distinction is important as there are undoubtedly still quite a few folks hopping on YouTube that aren’t necessarily using Google Accounts to do so.

The site announced it hit 1 billion monthly active users in 2013, though that number assumedly related to all visitors, logged-in and not.

Logged-in users spend an average of more than one hour per day watching YouTube just on mobile devices, a pretty daunting number that showcases just how pervasive video has gotten on the mobile web.

“When we…

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Periscope vows fix for broadcasters mad that they forfeit tips by deleting replays


Periscope’s new Super Hearts tipping feature that launched yesterday quickly sparked a backlash from the creators it was designed to help earn money.

Broadcasters discovered that if they deleted the replay of one of their live videos before cashing out their tips at the end of the month, they’d lose any tips received during the stream. That meant if a video was overly personal or sensitive, unflattering or a creator otherwise didn’t want the replay on the internet, they’d be forced to forfeit money they’d earned. Twitter already takes a 30 percent cut of tips after the app store’s tax and payment processing fees are removed.

TechCrunch heard about the issue this morning and asked Twitter for an explanation of why it would need to delete people’s tips if they deleted…

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Facebook equips admins to protect and analyze their Groups


Facebook sees Groups as the core of its push to “build community,” as Mark Zuckerberg detailed in his 6,000-word humanitarian manifesto. So today at its Communities Summit in Chicago, where it assembled 300 admins of top Groups, Facebook is making good on Zuckerberg’s promise to give admins more tools to manage their flocks. These include Group analytics, membership request filtering, removed member clean-up, scheduled posts and group-to-group linking.

These tools automate or facilitate the busy work that Group admins were already slogging through manually to assist their constituencies. Their rollout should increase the sharing of resonant content as well as the sense of tight-knit camaraderie and vulnerability in groups — ranging from activist leagues to patient support…

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Do Not Disturb While Driving feature rolls out in Apple’s newest iOS 11 beta


With the release of iOS 11’s latest beta on Wednesday, testers can now get their hands on one of the new mobile operating system’s most important — if not most glamorous — new features: a long-needed “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode. Announced in June at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, the feature aims to combat the very dangerous practice of texting from behind the wheel, while also switching off other alerts that entice people to look at their phones while driving.

Distracted driving has become a national safety crisis because of the rise of smartphones. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, 10 percent of fatal crashes, 15 percent of injury crashes and 14 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes were…

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Snapchat acquires social map app Zenly for $250M to $350M


Snapchat’s newest feature Snap Map is based on its latest acquisition, social mapping startup Zenly. TechCrunch has learned that Snapchat has bought Zenly for between $250 million and $350 million in mostly cash and some stock in a deal that closed in late May. Snapchat will keep Zenly running independently similar to how Facebook lets Instagram run independently.

Zenly’s app lets users see where their friends currently are on a map using constant GPS in the background. People can then message these friends in the app to make plans to hang out.

The Paris-based startup hit 2 million downloads last year, mostly from teens trying to keep up with their friends around town, at school, or at concerts and other events. Zenly had raised $35.1 million, including a $22.5M Series B in…

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Virgin Mobile goes iPhone-only, offers a year of service for $1


In attempt to woo customers away from competitors, Virgin Mobile today announced a deal with Apple which will see it transitioning to become an iPhone-only carrier. To kick off this change, the company also introduced a limited time promotion that will see it giving away a year’s worth of unlimited talk, text and data for only a dollar.

There are a few caveats to this deal, of course.

Like most carriers, unlimited data is not exactly that. Customers who use more than 23 GB of data during one billing cycle will be deprioritized, Virgin says – meaning it will throttle your bandwidth as needed, especially in places where there’s a lot of congestion.

Plus, Virgin’s terms says it has the right to terminate your service is your off-network roaming usage exceeds either 800 voice…

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Periscope lets you buy and send Super Hearts that broadcasters can cash in


Periscope has a new revenue stream and a new way to attract the best live video content to its Twitter-owned app. Today Periscope launches Super Hearts — in-app purchase virtual goods that users buy for real money, send to creators as animated hearts that get them attention in the comment reel, and that broadcasters can then redeem with Twitter for a monthly cash pay-out.

After the 30% tax on in-app purchases from iOS or Android and transaction processing fees, Twitter will pay 70% of the cash value of the Super Hearts to the broadcasters and keep 30% for itself. Super Hearts are rolling out globally on iOS and Android, but for now, only broadcasters in the US are eligible to cash out their ‘tips’.

Super Hearts seem to be inspired by the livestream virtual gifting trend in…

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