Google Maps Gets More Bike-Friendly

Cyclists is perhaps the one beings on the planet who nonetheless ask others for instructions. That’s as a result of there’s a bunch of vital bike-specific information you may get solely from different cyclists. How steep is that hill? What are the bike lanes like on this route? An app often can’t let you know these issues.

Now, Google is including some new features to Maps that will let you know these issues. The improved view for cyclists consists of extra information about bike routes (when accessible) that exhibits the place the bike lanes are, how busy automobile site visitors is, and whether or not your chosen route features a steep hill. It also can warn you about stairs alongside the route, or let you know that you’ve got some gravel sections to stay up for. Maps may even present turn-by-turn instructions made only for bikes.

Cyclists will now have to search out another excuse to speak to 1 one other. Maybe they’ll complain concerning the lack of transportation infrastructure investments

Google can also be including 3D photorealistic views of landmarks and extra nuanced instruments for sharing your location with others. Earlier this yr, the corporate teased a Maps function it calls Immersive View, a souped up Street View setting that permits you to zoom and pan around the globe with unprecedented freedom. Google’s new landmarks aren’t precisely that, and the corporate hasn’t stated when the function will truly come out, nevertheless it appears a step in that path.

Along with the Maps replace, some changes are coming to the Google Play retailer, the official repository of apps on Android gadgets. The updates are geared toward cleansing up among the extra unsavory app practices on the shop. That consists of banning lookalike apps that attempt to trick folks into downloading them, eradicating vaccine misinformation, and limiting full-screen adverts in apps. While the corporate’s modifications could assist adverts be considerably much less annoying, Google nonetheless isn’t ready to do away with tracking cookies totally. Nearly all Play Store updates can be dwell by August 31.

TikTok’s Got Game

Clearly, no social platform is serious about staying in its lane anymore. While each different app is busy making an attempt to be TikTok, the Chinese platform has been desirous to shake things up by itself. The app started its foray into video games final November, when it introduced a partnership with sport developer Zynga. (You know, of Farmville infamy.) Now, as spotted by TechCrunch, TikTok appears to have quietly rolled out a number of video games on its platform. They’re made by a number of totally different builders, none of them Zynga—for now, at the very least. The video games are a tiny a part of TikTok’s platform, accessible if a consumer faucets by the movies posted by somebody who connected a sport to their add. You play the sport proper there “inside” the particular person’s video.

TikTok hasn’t formally introduced the function or commented about whether or not it might roll out extra broadly. But growth is actually potential, even when TikTok does have a historical past of shelving considerably promising experiments like its Shop tab.

Yup, YouTube Wants to Be TikTok Too

In September 2020, YouTube launched its Shorts function, which lets customers make fast clips of video that may be performed in an limitless scroll. It’s been a successful enough effort by the video juggernaut, although it hasn’t taken over the zeitgeist fairly like TikTok has. Now, YouTube is making an attempt to make it even simpler to put up Shorts. On Thursday, YouTube posted an update on its assist web page that it was letting customers convert parts of longer YouTube movies into 60-second clips as a substitute of simply making a Short by itself. Creators can embed hyperlinks that may take viewers to the longer model of the video, maintaining much more eyeballs on the platform.

In different “everything is TokTok now” information …

Instagram Gets Reel

Even should you aren’t on Instagram a lot, you’ve most likely heard about its controversial Reels function. It’s a tab filled with streaming movies, usually from accounts you don’t comply with. It’s a blatant ripoff of TikTok, even utilizing among the similar songs and sound results you may discover on the mega-popular social platform. And now Instagram has let it’s identified that it plans to go all-in on the full-screen looping movies.

Last week, Instagram dad or mum firm Meta stated it might change the algorithms of its websites to be extra like TikTok. Now, that’s bled over into Instagram and Reels. The backlash from customers was swift. Reels has confirmed wildly unpopular and even managed to irk a Kardashian or two. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg have each defended the TikTokification of their apps, telling customers that the corporate’s utilization information exhibits this expertise is what they actually need anyway. (In an earnings name, Zuckerberg said he expects AI-powered suggestions will make up half of your Instagram feed by subsequent yr.)

Mosseri walked again a few of his statements only a day later. In an interview with journalist Casey Newton at Platformer, Mosseri stated Instagram will “take a big step back, regroup, and figure out how we want to move forward.” That doesn’t appear to translate to any large change of plan, although, and most definitely will lead to slowing the rollout barely—simply sufficient to present the uproar time to die down.

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