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Google Maps Gets More Bike-Friendly

Cyclists may be the only real beings on earth who still ask others for directions. Thats because theres a lot of necessary bike-specific knowledge you can find only from other cyclists. How steep is that hill? Do you know the bike lanes like with this route? An app usually cant let you know those ideas.

Now, Google is adding some new features to Maps that will let you know those ideas. The improved view for cyclists includes more data about bike routes (when available) that presents where in fact the bike lanes are, how busy vehicle traffic is, and whether your selected route carries a steep hill. Additionally, it may warn you about stairs along the way, or let you know which you have some gravel sections to check forward to. Maps may also provide turn-by-turn directions made simply for bikes.

Cyclists will will have to find various other excuse to speak to each other. Maybe they are able to complain concerning the insufficient transportation infrastructure investments.

Google can be adding 3D photorealistic views of landmarks and much more nuanced tools for sharing where you are with others. Earlier this season, the business teased a Maps feature it calls Immersive View, a souped up Street View setting that enables you to zoom and pan all over the world with unprecedented freedom. Googles new landmarks arent exactly that, and the business hasnt said once the feature will in actuality come out, nonetheless it seems a part of that direction.

Combined with the Maps update, some changes are arriving at the Google Play store, the state repository of apps on Android devices. The updates are targeted at cleaning up a few of the more unsavory app practices on the store. Which includes banning lookalike apps that make an effort to trick people into downloading them, removing vaccine misinformation, and limiting full-screen ads in apps. As the companys changes can help ads be somewhat less annoying, Google still isnt prepared to get rid of tracking cookies entirely. Almost all Play Store updates will undoubtedly be live by August 31.

TikToks Got Game

Clearly, no social platform is thinking about residing in its lane anymore. Whilst every other app is busy attempting to be TikTok, the Chinese platform has been wanting to shake things up alone. The app began its foray into games last November, when it announced a partnership with game developer Zynga. (You understand, of Farmville infamy.) Now, as spotted by TechCrunch, TikTok appears to have quietly rolled out several games on its platform. Theyre created by several different developers, do not require Zyngafor now, at the very least. The games certainly are a tiny section of TikToks platform, available in case a user taps through the videos posted by a person who attached a casino game with their upload. You play the overall game right there in the persons video.

TikTok hasnt officially announced the feature or commented about whether it could roll out more broadly. But expansion is obviously possible, even though TikTok has a brief history of shelving somewhat promising experiments like its Shop tab.

Yup, YouTube Really wants to Be TikTok Too

In September 2020, YouTube launched its Shorts feature, which lets users make quick clips of video which can be played within an endless scroll. Its been a successful enough effort by the video juggernaut, though it hasnt bought out the zeitgeist that can compare with TikTok has. Now, YouTube is wanting to create it even simpler to post Shorts. On Thursday, YouTube posted an update on its support page that it had been letting users convert portions of longer YouTube videos into 60-second clips rather than just creating a Short alone. Creators can embed links that will take viewers to the longer version of the video, keeping even more eyeballs on the platform.

In other everything is TokTok now news

Instagram Gets Reel

Even though you arent on Instagram much, youve probably heard about its controversial Reels feature. Its a tab full of streaming videos, often from accounts you dont follow. Its a blatant ripoff of TikTok, even using some of the same songs and sound effects you’ll find on the mega-popular social platform. And now Instagram has let it be known that it plans to go all-in on the full-screen looping videos.

Last week, Instagram parent company Meta said it would change the algorithms of its sites to be more like TikTok. Now, thats bled over into Instagram and Reels. The backlash from users was swift. Reels has proven wildly unpopular and even managed to irk a Kardashian or two. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg have both defended the TikTokification of their apps, telling users that the companys usage data shows this experience is what they really want anyway. (In an earnings call, Zuckerberg said he expects AI-powered recommendations will make up half of your Instagram feed by next year.)

Mosseri walked back some of his statements just a day later. In an interview with journalist Casey Newton at Platformer, Mosseri said Instagram will take a big step back, regroup, and figure out how we want to move forward. That doesnt seem to translate to any big change of plan, though, and most likely will result in slowing the rollout slightlyjust enough to give the uproar time to die down.

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