AWT News Update: March 22, 2017

Due to a test video broadcast that was going on earlier this afternoon, this is an abbreviated news update:

  • On Monday night, March 27, we'll start our live streaming video show -- AWT TV. Details are forthcoming regarding where you'll be able to watch and chat
  • Google updated its Photos app today, putting emphasis on backup and sharing over slow connections
  • Google also announced that its iOS Maps app will soon have a real-time location sharing function similar to Apple's Find My Friends

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Note to Apple News readers: you’ll need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for March 22nd, 2017.

This is a short version of the show today; we’re getting ready to start a live streaming weekly show next Monday night, so I was setting up and testing the various apps we need to do that. We’ll have the exact time and place you can watch the show later this week.

Google Photos was updated today, primarily to focus on slower connections. The app now achieves faster initial backup and image sharing by first uploading what’s called a “lightweight preview” when on a slow connection — think of a 2G connection, for example. Once the device is on a better network, the high quality version is backed up to permanently replace the low-resolution copy. Google says that the lightweight preview still looks great on smartphones, as the company has made significant advances in data and image compression. Google also updated its Duo video chatting app to work in an audio-only call version, once again aiming at slower connections. Audio calls apparently work well on all connection speeds.

Speaking of Google, the company also announced that it will soon start the rollout of real-time location sharing for users of its Maps app. This offers a feature similar to Apple’s Find My Friends. Once it rolls out, you’ll be able to access the new feature by tapping on the blue dot for your current location, or by opening up the main menu. The app will then prompt you to pick those friends you wish to share your location with from Google contacts, or you can also create a link that can be shared in your favorite messaging app or via email. Maps will also ask for a time limit or to allow location sharing indefinitely. The time restrictions can work from 15 minutes to 3 days; if you choose to share location indefinitely, you’ll receive an email reminder every few weeks.

That’s all for today; I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.