VLC, the hugely popular media playing service, is filing one of its gaps with the addition of AirPlay support as its just crossed an incredible three billion users.
The new feature was revealed by Jean-Baptiste Kempf, one of the service’s lead developers, in an interview with Variety at CES and it will give users a chance to beam content from their Android or iOS device to an Apple TV. The addition, which is due in the upcoming version 4 of VLC, is the biggest new feature since the service added Chromecast support last summer.
But that’s not all that the dozen or so people on the VLC development team are working on.
In addition, Variety reports that VLC is preparing to add enable native support for VR content. Instead of SDKs, the team has reversed engineered popular hardware to offer features that will include the option to watch 2D content in a cinema-style environment. There are also plans to bring the service to more platforms, with VentureBeat reporting that the VLC team is eying PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Roku devices.
VLC, which is managed by non-profit parent VideonLAN, racked up its 3 millionth download at CES, where it celebrated with the live ticker pictured above. The service reached one billion downloads back in May 2012, which represents incredible growth for a venture that began life as a project from Ecole Centrale Paris students in 1996.
New York-based Cargo claims it can help drivers earn up to $300 in additional wages per month by selling items like snacks, drinks, beauty items, phone chargers and more.
Drivers add a Cargo box which includes free samples and paid products to their car for free. (Refills are free, too.) They make a 25 commission on all paid sales, plus $1 every time a passenger places an order or free sample request via the Cargo website.
That’s about it.
Cargo has done deals with Lyft and Uber drivers in the U.S., but this marks its first move overseas. For now the partnership takes effect in Singapore but a Grab representative told TechCrunch that, all being well, it will expand across Southeast Asia, where Grab serves eight countries.
We’re excited to announce that we’ll hold an Ethereum Meetup on July 7, the day after the ‘TC Sessions: Blockchain’ event. TechCrunch is producing this event with support from the Ethereum Foundation and other members of the Ethereum community.
To recap: the TC Sessions: Blockchain event takes place July 6 in Zug, the Swiss Canton know as ‘Crypto Valley,’ and it’ll be followed by the Ethereum Meetup produced by TechCrunch on July 7th from 1-6pm at the Casino, the same venue as the blockchain event the day before.
A follow-on meetup is a first for our single-day ‘TC Sessions’ events, which TechCrunch produces to cover important emerging topics like robotics, AR/VR and tech diversity. The second-day event in Zug reflects the strong demand we’ve seen from readers who are keen to further explore and understand the blockchain space.
This meetup will feature core developers and leaders from the Ethereum ecosystem, including Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum Foundation developer Karl Floersch, and others. It will cover a range of topics on the technical side, including presentations and discussions around issues of scaling, protocol improvements, and improvements to consensus among other topics.
We’ll have full details on the agenda very soon so stay patient.
Attendees of the TC Sessions: Blockchain event who wish to attend the Ethereum Meetup will need to purchase a separate pass. Tickets are available now for the meetup and can be purchased here — they are priced at 50 CHF plus VAT, that’s around $53 at current rates. We can’t wait to see you there.
There are a limited number of sponsorship opportunities open for the Ethereum Meetup produced by TechCrunch. If you are interested in sponsoring the event, please fill out this form.
Google has continued its slow and steady China strategy after it launched Files Go, a files management service for Android devices. The app launched to global markets last year but today it landed in China via a trio of third-party app stores.
Named ‘Google 文件极客’ in China, the app helps users keep within the storage limits of their device by suggesting files to delete if they need to free up space. It also includes feature for finding files and sharing them to local devices without an internet connection. Like a solid internet connection, keeping enough free space on a device is critical to it running efficiently and quickly which is Files Go aims to help.
Files Go was designed for India, where budget Android phones are mainstream, but interest in the app was so widespread that it was later launched worldwide. Indeed, the U.S. is now the third-largest market for the app, Josh Woodward, a product manager within Google’s ‘Next Billion’ team, told TechCrunch in an interview.
Given that global demand, bringing the app to China, where Google is testing out new strategies, makes plenty of sense. The launch also allows Google to work with third-party app stores for distribution since the Google Play Store is banned in China. It selected Xiaomi, Huawei and Baidu and the experience is sure to help Google figure out the lay of the land.
Google is slowing piecing together a strategy for China to ensure that it doesn’t miss out on the growth of technology in the world’s largest country. It’s been months in the making through a series of gradual plays, but further evidence of those plans comes today via a product launch.
For Files Go, Google is taking a partner-led approach to distribution because the Google Play Store does not operate in China. The company is working with Tencent, Huawei, Xiaomi and Baidu, each of which will stock the app in their independent app stores, which are among the country’s most prominent third-party stores.
Let that sink in a little: the creator of Android is using third-party Android app stores to distribute one of its products.
On the outside that’s quite the scenario, but in China it makes perfect sense.
There’s been regularmediaspeculation in recent about Google’s desire to return to China which, during its absence, has become the largest single market for smartphone users, and the country with the most app downloads and highest app revenue per year. Mostly the rumors have centered around audacious strategies such as the return of the Google Play Store or the restoration of Google’s Chinese search business, both of which would mean complying with demands from the Chinese government.
Political tension between the U.S. and China is affecting tech companies. [Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images]
Even when you remove the political issues, a full return is a tough challenge. Google would be starting businesses almost from scratch in a highly competitive market where it has little brand recognition.
It’s hardly surprising, then, that it hasn’t made big moves… yet at least.
Instead, it appears that the company is exploring more nimble approaches. There have been opportunistic product launches using established platforms, and generally Google seems intent at building relationships and growing a local presence that allows its global business to tap into the talent and technology that China offers.
Bouquets of flowers lie on the Google logo outside the company’s China head office in Beijing on March 23, 2010 after the US web giant said it would no longer filter results and was redirecting mainland Chinese users to an uncensored site in Hong Kong — effectively closing down the mainland site. Google’s decision to effectively shut down its Chinese-language search engine is likely to stunt the development of the Internet in China and isolate local web users, analysts say. (Photo credit: xin/AFP/Getty Images)
Beyond products, Google is cultivating relationships, too.
Hopscotch, an India-based e-commerce service focused on mums and founded by a former Diapers.com executive, has closed a $13 million Series C round led by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin. Read More
Snapchat is famous for its disappearing messages, but not everything is ephemeral. Today the company disclosed that a number of its current and former employees had their identifies compromised following a phishing attack staged on the company this month. Read More
Sony is one company looking to take advantage of the blockchain, technology that underpins cyptocurrency bitcoin, after the Japanese company announced plans to build a centralized platform for educational assessment and testing scores. Read More