Spotify Launches New Spotlight Feature, Adding Visual Layers to Podcasts

Spotify for Android

Spotify has announced a new Spotlight feature that is rolling out to US subscribers.  The new feature is aimed to bring visual content to podcasts, audiobooks and news that you are listening to through the streaming service.

Spotlight gives fans a deeper insight to their favorite artists, playlists, books, publishers and more by offering contextual visual elements, such as photos, video and text, that appear as users move through each episode.

Spotlight will launch with content from the following Spotify partners including BuzzFeed News, Cheddar, Crooked Media, Lenny Letter, Gimlet Media, Genius, The Minefield Girl, Refinery29 and Uninterrupted. Additionally, Spotlight will feature content from some of Spotify’s own original series such as RISE, Secret Genius, Spotify Singles and the new Viva Latino podcast.

The aim of Spotlight is to give Spotify users streaming this content more information on the topic being covered in the audio media itself.

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Project Fi Now Replacing Defective Nexus 5X Phones With Moto X4

Android One Moto X4

Google is finally offering a reasonable replacement to those that have struggled with defective, often bootlooping, Nexus 5X on Project Fi.  Customers who have the 5X and have the $5 per month Device Protection Plan on the device, can now get a Moto X4 as a replacement.  The $69 deductible payment is still required but this is far better than the $53 check that was offered by Google on defect 5X’s just a few weeks ago.  If you didn’t want that $53, you could get a $100 Google Store credit.

The Nexus 5X has been plagued by bootloop issues where the device would simply be stuck in a mode where it is simply never is able to get past the boot up screen on the device and actually load Android to run the phone.  Not all phones were effected of course but many where, prompting some class action lawsuits against Google and LG.

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Android Oreo Beta for The ZTE Axon 7 Launched

ZTE Axon 7

Good news for those of you who have the ZTE Axon 7, Android Oreo is now in beta for your phone.  The Chinese manufacture quietly began rolling out a beta program for the latest version of Oreo over the weekend, with select users being able to opt into the program.  While no official timeline was given on when an official Oreo build will come out for the 2016 flagship phone, which actually launched with Marshmallow at the time.

In the ZTE forums, there is a screenshot of the Axon 7 running Oreo with the notice that it is in the first round of beta testing.  Again, how many cycles there will be on the beta test is unclear.

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HTC U11 on Sprint To Get Updated to Android Oreo Starting Tomorrow

HTC U11

Good news for those of you who have the HTC U11 on Sprint here in the United States.  The Android Oreo update for the phone will start rolling out tomorrow according to HTC’s Mo Versi.

This announcement follows up the November 2017 release of the build for the unlocked variant of the phone.

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Audiobooks Teaser and App Update for Google Play Books

Shelves in Google Play Books

It is one thing when a company gets an upcoming feature or product leaked.  It is another thing entirely when the company itself leaks the upcoming feature or product.  That appears to be what happened late on Friday with Google Play Books.

Both online and in the Android app, a banner in the Play Books store promoting the coming of Audiobooks to the store and a 50% discount on your first purchase.  I, unfortunately, didn’t capture the banner but the folks over at 9to5 Google did and you can see it here.

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Google Trips Update Brings Video and Blogger Content to Sites

Videos on Places in Google Trips

Google Trips, the travel planning app that lets you have all your travel information in one place, as a handy update that is rolling out today.  The update is version 1.6 for those keeping score at home.  Aside from the normal smattering of bug fixes and performance improvements, there is now video content from YouTube and Blogger content when you visit a particular thing to do in a location.

To get to this new content, select an upcoming trip you already have in Google Trips or search for a new city, say New York City.  Once you are on the city page, tap on the blue “Things to do” block which will bring up various sites and places to go while you are in New York.  When you tap on one of those places, you will now see videos from YouTube and Blogger content in the new “from around the web” section.

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Overstock The Latest Store to be Added to Google Express

Overstock on Google Express

Overstock, the online retailer of a wide range of personal and home decor items, has become the latest company to be added to Google Express.  That brings the total number of retailers you can buy from within the Express site or app up to 56, all with free shipping after a certain purchase level.

If you aren’t familiar with Overstock, they started life as a company selling equipment and other furnishings from startups that had gone bust.  But that quickly morphed into selling new furnishings, personal care items and home decor, some of which is now specifically manufactured for the company.

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