This is The Download, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.
Google launches YouTube Music, YouTube Premium subscription plans
Google is breaking up YouTube Red into two separate offerings: YouTube Music, a music streaming service that’s available either for free with ads or for $9.99 per month, and YouTube Premium – an $11.99/month service for YouTube’s lineup of original video content.
YouTube Music is the company’s most direct competitor to Spotify yet, with a “reimagined mobile app” and a new desktop player designed specifically for music. According to Google, YouTube allows Music to combine all the official versions of songs with “thousands” of related playlists, remixes, covers, live versions, and music videos. Google’s AI is also being integrated, with the app being able to discover songs with lyrics or a general description like “that hipster song with the whistling.”
Music discovery is literally front and center in the app, with YouTube Music’s home screen dynamically recommending new listening based on your history, location, and activity. Google is also emphasizing its playlist diversity, which will be used to suggest and surface new music for users.
For $9.99/month, YouTube Music adds background listening, downloads, and an ad-free experience to the free tier. Google Play Music customers will get YouTube Music as part of that membership, with the future of Play Music left in doubt.
Meanwhile, YouTube Premium adds access to the YouTube Originals video library. According to Google, the library will be expanded with “more, bigger original series and movies,” including comedies, dramas, reality shows, and action adventure shows from the UK, Germany, France, Mexico, and other countries. All of YouTube will be ad-free with the ability for videos to be played in the background or downloaded for offline playback.
YouTube Premium replaces YouTube Red, with Google grandfathering Red customers that sign up before Premium launches “soon” at the current $9.99/month price in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and South Korea. Premium will also launch in Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Google says that additional expansion will come later this year and beyond.
YouTube Music starts rolling out on May 22 to the existing YouTube Red markets, with South Korea only getting a $9.99 Premium service. The other mentioned countries will get YouTube Music “in the coming weeks.”
Instagram lets users share posts directly to their stories
Instagram’s line between posts and stories is getting even thinner, with a new feature that will let users share posts from their account and public accounts they follow to their story as a sticker.
Instagram imagines that the feature will be used to help promote friends and brands you like on your own story, making it easier to share something like a brand’s tour announcement with your followers. Any post shared to your stories will include the original poster’s username, along with a link back to the original post.
Users will be able to share posts by tapping the same paper airline above a post in their feed that they would use to share a post through Instagram Direct. Now, there’s also an option to create a story. Posts share to stories as a rearrangeable sticker that can be resized and placed on customizable backgrounds before posting.
Only posts from public accounts can be shared to stories, and users will have the option to disable others from sharing their posts.
The new story-sharing feature is set to launch on Android today, with a rollout coming to iOS over the next week.
Apple’s Everyone Can Code curriculum for Swift expanding to US schools serving blind and deaf students
Apple has announced that it’s teaming up with educators to bring Everyone Can Code to schools serving people who are deaf, blind, and have other assistive needs. This fall, teachers at eight schools that service students with disabilities will begin incorporating Everyone Can Code into their classrooms.
“Apple’s mission is to make products as accessible as possible. We created Everyone Can Code because we believe all students deserve an opportunity to learn the language of technology. We hope to bring Everyone Can Code to even more schools around the world serving students with disabilities.”
Tim Cook; Apple CEO, in a statement
Everyone Can Code encourages kids to learn how to code in a way that’s approachable, laying the groundwork for future STEM careers. The program is compatible with VoiceOver, a sophisticated screen-reading technology for people with vision impairments. With this gesture-based technology, people can learn to code without having to see the screen.
For students with hearing disabilities, FaceTime can capture expressions and gestures that let them fully interact with the program. Features like Type to Siri and devices like Made for iPhone hearing aids can also help deaf students use Everyone Can Code.
Mobileye signs deal to supply 8M cars with self-driving chip tech to undisclosed European automaker
Mobileye, Intel’s Israeli autonomous driving division, has signed a contract to supply eight million cars with its self-driving technologies to an unnamed European automaker, according to Reuters.
The deal will begin in 2021, according to Mobileye senior vice president for advanced development and strategy Erez Dagan, when Intel’s EyeQ5 chip that’s designed for fully autonomous driving, is launched as an upgrade to the EyeQ4 that will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
The system will be available on a variety of the automaker’s car models that will have partial automation where the car drives itself but the driver must remain alert, along with models integrating a more advanced conditional automation system.
eBay launches personalized Interests that use big data, questionnaire to make recommendations
eBay is launching an Interests feature that creates a customized store based on tastes you pick through a questionnaire.
The system uses a combination of algorithms and eBay’s massive data set to craft your personal store.
Interests is available now through eBay’s Android and iOS apps in the US, with the feature coming to the web and other countries in the “coming months.”
Google plans to remove HTTPS “secure” text in September in Chrome, add “Not secure” label to sites without HTTPS in October
Starting in September, Google is changing the visual cues for HTTPS in Chrome’s user interface. Sites using HTTPS will no longer trigger the green “Secure” text that usually appears in the address bar on Chrome version 69.
In October, sites visited with Chrome 70 that don’t have HTTPS certificates will trigger a red “Not secure” label when entering text.
Google is making this change because it believes that “users should expect that the web is safe by default.”
US Senate votes narrowly to block Net Neutrality repeal, resolution heads to House of Representatives
The US Senate has voted to reverse the Federal Communication Commission (FCC)’s repeal of net neutrality rules in a 52-47 vote, with all Democratic members and three Republicans voting in favor of the regulations.
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, where Republicans hold a large 236-193 majority.
Facebook announces partnership with Atlantic Council aimed at helping deter platform manipulation during elections
Facebook has recruited some outside help from the Atlantic Council international affairs think tank to stamp out meddling on its platform. The council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab is working with security, policy, and product teams from Facebook to flesh out internal real-time updates and insights on “emerging threats and disinformation campaigns.”
The social network will also link up with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Research Unit Monitoring Missions throughout elections and “other highly sensitive moments.” According to Facebook, this will aid it in monitoring false information and foreign disruption in a particular geographic area while helping educate citizens.