MX Player, Virtual Hope Trunks, Google Play, More: Friday ResearchBuzz, April 3, 2020


BetaNews: MX Player launches free movie and TV streaming service in US, UK and more. “MX Player is not only a nifty media player, for some time it has also offered free streaming services in India. Now this is expanding into seven new markets including the US, the UK and Australia. While not linked to the coronavirus pandemic, the offer of free entertainment will please many people who find themselves stuck at home. MX Player is home to both licensed and original content, which is currently enjoyed by 175 million monthly users.”

OKC Fox: OKC Memorial and Museum releases Virtual Hope Trunks for learning. “The National Memorial and Museum is releasing a brand new tool to help kids learn while out of the classroom by introducing Virtual Hope Trunks. These online resources are a new way to teach kids about the Oklahoma City Bombing.”


Neowin: Google Play Movies could offer ad-supported movie streaming for free. “When it comes to streaming movies, Google Play Movies is nowhere near as popular as Netflix or Prime Video. This is because Google Play Movies is a marketplace where one can rent or buy movies and TV series, while other streaming services follow a subscription model. Google, however, is looking to change things around as it is seemingly planning to offer hundreds of free ad-supported movies through Play Movies.”

CNET: Facebook Messenger launches a new desktop app so you can video chat on a bigger screen. “You can already use Messenger on a desktop browser by logging into the main social network, but now there’s a separate desktop app. The new product is an example of how Facebook has been responding to the surge in video and audio calls as more people are staying at home and practicing social distancing.”

Google Blog: Discover podcasts you’ll love with Google Podcasts, now on iOS. “We’ve redesigned the Google Podcasts app to make it easier to discover podcasts you’ll love, build your list of go-to podcasts, and customize your listening. To support listeners on more platforms, we’re also bringing Google Podcasts to iOS for the first time and adding support for subscriptions on Google Podcasts for Web.”


Popular Science: It’s time to purge the worst people in your social media feeds. “If there are people you never interact with, or who you would be happy to never hear from again, don’t waste energy scrolling past their updates—cut them out of the picture. Once you’ve done so, you’ll find yourself having a happier, more streamlined experience online.”

Digital Inspiration: How to Send SMS Messages with Google Sheets and your Android Phone. “There are services, Twilio and Vonage for example, that let you send text messages programmatically to any phone number in the world. You can either build an SMS solution on top of these messaging APIs or you can take a simpler and less expensive route – build your own text sending app with Google Sheets and MIT’s App Inventor.”

The Next Web: This handy tool lets you record GIFs straight from your browser. “I like GIFs — perhaps to a fault. I know it’s a dying medium, but I’m still a sucker for a moving image. There’s something awfully satisfying about staring at a GIF that a JPEG can never match. The one thing I despise about GIFs, though, is how much of a hassle it is to make one. Enter GIFcap, a browser-based tool that lets you capture GIFs without the need to download or install any new software. All you need to do is load up the site, and start recording.”

MakeUseOf: The Zoom Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet for Desktop. “With a steep rise in remote working all over the world, the video conferencing tool Zoom is gaining users rapidly. It enables teams to organize and conduct online meetings with ease. If you use Zoom for remote communication, the cheat sheet below can be of great help. It contains keyboard shortcuts to help you use the Zoom interface effortlessly for group messaging and video calling.”


The Guardian: So long and thanks for all the fish. “I am sorry to have to inform readers of the Guardian’s long-running Ask Jack column that its much-loved author, Jack Schofield, died on Tuesday. Jack was taken to hospital on Friday night following a heart attack and died on Tuesday afternoon.” I wrote for Jack several times in the early 2000s. He always had a kind word and I always looked forward to working with him. I’ll miss him.


The Register: Vietnam bans posting fake news online. “The new law, which will come into effect on April 15, will fine people who post or share fake news online VND10 to VND20m ($425-$850), which is several months salary for many Vietnamese. The authorities will also have power to force the user to remove the post.”

Techdirt: How Much Data Does Clearview Gather On People? The Answer (Sadly) Will Not Surprise You.. “How much does Clearview gather on the average person? It’s tough to tell. Asking Clearview directly — at least in most of the US — will get you nothing. However, California’s privacy law (the California Consumer Privacy Act) mandates the disclosure of gathered personal data to requesters. That’s what Thomas Smith of OneZero did. And here’s what he got back.” Good morning, Internet…

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