Updates this Week: YouTube, BlackBerry, Skype and more

Updates this Week: YouTube, BlackBerry, Skype and more

This week had a lot of updates from some major software companies, focusing the usability of their products. YouTube bring out a new redesigned homepage for its mobile users, both Android and iOS. The new update brings in a better recommendations systems to deliver content that the user might actually like to watch. It comes with a simple and clean format that will help the users discover and enjoy more content, from their favorite content creator, without any hiccups.

The new recommendation system works on machine learning, and is based on the deep neural network technology developed at Google. The algorithm can automatically find patterns and adapt as it learns more about your viewing habits. It was actually put to test with a specific set of users before its public release.

One of the biggest improvements is how the system suggests more recent videos and those from the creators you love. People who have tried the new system have spent more time watching fresh videos and content from their Subscriptions. -Brian Marquardt, Product Manager, YouTube Main App.

In another move, BlackBerry announced the Marshmallow update to its PRIV users, a phone that was launched six months ago. The update can be downloaded on their device Over-The-Air(OTA). The company has included the patches for Android security vulnerabilities that is going to be live this May.

BlackBerry Marshmallow

BlackBerry has also announced that it’s going to ship PRIV devices from now on with Marshmallow pre-installed. The Android Marshmallow update also places a key focus on security, which has been a strong suit of BlackBerry from the start. But, the company has made some significant changes to the classic vanilla Android Marshmallow, and added their own touch to it.

BlackBerry has also added some over-the-top features to the PRIV:

  • Customized Personal Data Permissions gives users the power to control their privacy and better control their data. The users can change any permissions, whenever they want and still use the application.
  • The new update supports an updated BlackBerry keyboard with better predictive analysis, error correction and cursor control. This also introduces 200 new and updated emoji’s to the keyboard.
  • With the new and improved BlackBerry Hub, you can better organize your notifications and manage productivity with new apps like Slack, Instagram and Pinterest.
  • Mute Indicator is now a floating phone indicator which appears during a call. Yellow represents muted, while Green means it isn’t.
  • The updated BlackBerry Launcher helps you organize apps and widgets into Recent, Personal and Work sections, in a more clean and intuitive manner.
  • Battery Life Improvements can be seen thanks to the inclusion of Doze and App Standby
  • Media Card Encryption Support is also a new addition in this update, that let’s you encrypt your SD Cards, upping your privacy game.
  • The camera app of the PRIV has also been improved to allow the users to record high-quality videos at 24fps – the standard frame rate used in professional feature-length motion pictures – in 4k, 1080p or 720p. You can now also shoot Slow-Motion video at 120fps, using the PRIV and then play it back smoothly at 30fps.

Microsoft also made its move by bringing in Skype for Business. The service is still in the preview stage and its available only for Mac users, for now. You can get the hands over the preview at SkypePreview.com. The company says that it has three stages of release for Skype Business. The stages were explained in their blog as follows.

Preview phase one—Once you sign in, you’ll see your meetings for today and tomorrow, based on your Outlook calendar, displayed in the Skype for Business client.

Join any meeting with just one click and enjoy full screen video, content viewing, in-meeting chat and the ability to invite others to the meeting.

Preview phase two—We’ll be adding instant messaging, presence and contacts in the next preview release coming in early summer. You can continue to use Lync for Mac 2011 side-by-side with Skype for Mac Preview, giving you continued access to messaging and voice features.

Preview phase three—We will add telephony and related features later in the summer.

Microsoft has not yet revealed a release date for the final build of the software, but it points out that the probably release date lies in Q3, 2016.

Some other smaller updates includes Adobe’s updating of its Cloud Service adding integration with Box.com and Microsoft OneDrive. Facebook, after acquiring MSQRD (a photo-morphing app) is said to launch a standalone camera app in order to encourage sharing between users.


Microsoft also launched their Word Flow keyboard for the iOS platform letting iPhone users to increase their productivity in typing. And for those cloud lovers, OpenStack Foundation that lets you deploy a private cloud, has launched their own certification called the Certified OpenStack Administrator (COA).

The Certified OpenStack Administrator exam will help provide a target for cloud administrators who are in high demand as the number of organizations adopting OpenStack continues to grow.