Winners and Losers: YouTube fixes its ads and another no-show for Spotify HiFi
It’s the weekend, which means it’s time for us to reveal this week’s winner and loser from the world of tech headlines.
This week’s biggest announcement definitely came from Sonos as the company launched two new speakers – the Sonos Era 300 and the Sonos Era 100.
In other news, Apple launched a yellow version of its iPhone 14, Microsoft Bing finally hit 100 million users thanks to its new AI capabilities and the Google Pixel Fold was reportedly spotted out in New York.
However, our winner this week is YouTube and our loser is Spotify. Keep on reading to learn why.
Our winner this week is YouTube after the Google-owned video platform announced it would be getting rid of one of its most annoying ad formats.
The update was shared by a YouTube community manager in an announcement on the platform’s support page.
According to the post, starting April 6 overlay ads – or ads that take up the bottom section of the video player – will be no more.
“Overlay ads are a legacy ad format that only served on desktop and are disruptive for viewers”, YouTube admitted in the post. “We expect to see limited impact for most creators as engagement shifts to other ad formats”.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that ads are gone completely by any means. If you want to stream videos without skipping or sitting through ads at the beginning of many videos then you’ll need to invest in YouTube Premium.
However, this update is still positive for all users of the free service who are tired of ads taking up valuable screen space during videos.
This week’s loser is Spotify – but not for the reason you might think. Typically, we choose our pick for the losers’ spot based on something a company did that week but, in Spotify’s case, it’s more about what it didn’t do.
Spotify unveiled a number of feature updates at its Stream On event this week, headlined by a new TikTok-esque music feed that invites you to scroll through personalised track recommendations, as well as a podcast and shows feed, and an audiobook feed to offer the same experience as other formats.
The music streaming giant also announced a DJ feature, Countdown pages for new releases and a Smart Shuffle button to add recommended songs to your playlist, replacing the very similar Enhance button.
While this is all very interesting, we couldn‘t help but feel there was one major feature missing from yet another Spotify event: Spotify HiFi.
Spotify announced that it was working on a hi-res tier for the music streaming platform all the way back in 2021 but, as of 2023, there’s still been no word of a launch date. That is despite competitors like Apple Music, Amazon Music HD and Tidal already offering hi-res audio support.
Hopefully, Spotify HiFi is on the horizon. However, after CEO Daniel Ek admitted there was no set date for the launch back in 2022, we’re not feeling overly optimistic.