Snap opens up with developer platform
Over the last few years, Snap has done things differently. It didn't build out a identity system, like Facebook login, and it never played nice with third-party apps. That's all changing, with a report that Snap plans to launch 'SnapKit' for developers who want to integrate with its AR camera.
Essentially, developers would be able to embed a Snap camera inside their own apps, offering native features from the service in other experiences for the first time, including sharing back to the social network and even a 'login with Snapchat' button.
This is big for the company because it's a fundamental shift in strategy from the insular, closed platform it used to be so protective about. It could be a boon for the company at a time when the numbers aren't looking so good, and is an interesting defensive play against Facebook and Instagram, which is going the opposite direction with fewer, more restrictive APIs.
Apple ships a feature it promised a year ago
HomePod can finally do what other multi-room systems have been doing for years: work as a stereo pair, or in multiple rooms.
After promising Airplay 2 would launch in 2017, Apple repeatedly delayed the feature with no explanation, pulling it from iOS 11's launch, then adding it back in later previews of iOS 11.1, 11.2 and 11.3 before pulling it again. It's finally here, and it actually works in iOS 11.4, but no word about what took so long.
Airplay 2 is the first major update to Airplay since the technology launched and offers clear stability improvements over the previous version, as well as deep support for third-party speakers. Sonos, for example, has promised to implement Airplay 2 support in its own speakers and a little birdie tells me that should launch at Sonos' June 6 event.
What's odd about Airplay 2 is that it's still reliant on the device sending the audio to be around, and doesn't take away the burden from the sender device once playing. Chromecast and Sonos allow you to fling the music from a phone to a speaker, then turn off the sender and the music will continue, while Airplay still relies on that device to actively be around.
Anyway; it's great that Apple shipped this, but we ought to ask why it struggled to ship it for so long to deliver it, despite it being a flagship feature at 2017's developer conference (the next edition of which is now less than a week away). iCloud messaging is also out today, another year-late feature that's worth updating for, by the way.
Imgur pivots to video, rushes toward productivity
Ah, the old 'pivot to video' move that every media company seems to go after eventually. Imgur is doing that today with a big overhaul, and it thinks it'll be profitable within the year.
Papua New Guinea to ban Facebook for a month to study its effects
Instead of Facebook performing an experiment on you, now countries are performing experiments on Facebook. This has its own concerns, but is an interesting way to understand what's going on.