Netflix is now giving their app users a chance to preview shows before watching.
The Netflix app now has what they’re calling mobile previews, Fortune reports. These mobile previews will seem like a familiar feature if you use an app that has Stories (like Snapchat). The previews appear at the top of the app and can be clicked through one after another. You can even go straight to the content from a preview if you see something you like.
According to Fortune, most of the previews are around 30 seconds long. You also don’t have to turn your screen to watch them because they’re vertical videos instead of horizontal.
If you watch on your gaming console or laptop, you’ve likely already seen their auto-playing trailers. These trailers promote content, sometimes showing previews of shows you may not have seen, other times showing a preview of the content you currently have selected. They have also been quite an annoyance for many people. There have been consistent complaints about how the auto-playing videos can’t be disabled, meaning if you stay on one screen for too long while browsing for what to watch, you have to either click away, open content and pause it, mute your TV, or find some other creative way to stop the videos from playing.
Fortunately, the previews now added to the Netflix app are something quite different. They don’t auto-play, which is surely a relief to Netflix app users who don’t want to have previews blasting through their headphones as soon as the app opens. And they appear to be a genuinely useful way to find out about more content you might actually like, particularly since you can tap a preview that’s playing to skip it and move on to something more relevant.
Mobile previews are already available on iOS devices, says Fortune, and Android users can expect the feature to arrive “soon.”
Podcasts may not be a new discovery or some secret section of the internet. But in past years, podcasts stopped being discussed quite as often as they had been before. This has led some to believe they’ve mostly stopped being made and that there aren’t really any worthwhile podcasts out there.
While the format certainly isn’t new, there are some new (or new-ish) podcasts in existence that are quite different from what you might expect. And there are some podcasts still going strong for a decade or more. When someone mentions podcasts these days, some people think they’re talking about podcasts made up of political discussions and news stories. But there’s much more out there to subscribe to and enjoy.
What’s so great about podcasts?
Podcasts might not be quite as widely discussed or followed as they were not too long ago. But there are a lot of reasons to download or stream some podcasts. Here are a few things that are great about podcasts:
- They can cover a wide variety of topics and be made in a number of different formats
- You can find fun, interesting, or highly knowledgable hosts
- You can listen to new content regularly (sometimes monthly, often weekly)
- You can subscribe using music platforms you probably already use (like iTunes and Spotify)
- There’s a lot to choose from because creators have so many outlets
- You can listen to your podcasts during trips and your work commute
- You can listen on many different devices, including smartphones, computers, and smart speakers
Where can you find podcasts?
There are a number of places to find new podcasts you may want to listen to. Here are just a few suggestions:
- iTunes: Podcasts have been available on iTunes for many years now.
- Spotify: Spotify listeners can stream quite a few podcasts and scroll through the podcasts they’re currently following.
- Listen Notes: This website is a search engine devoted specifically to finding podcasts.
- Stitcher: This site hosts many different podcasts (some of which you’ll see below).
Before you listen to these podcasts…
Keep in mind that the podcasts listed in this article may include some mature content. We can’t guarantee that they’ll be safe for work or that the content will always be clean or inoffensive. Always make sure to visit a podcast’s page and read its description before subscribing!
10 interesting podcasts
The following podcasts are all fairly different from one another. Take a look at each one to learn a little more about it, then click the podcast’s link to find out more!
Answer Me This
Answer Me This is a comedy podcast devoted to answering odd or interesting questions. Each episode description features a long list of topics discussed in the podcast (like “goldfish as gifts” and “Dothraki grammar”). Episode descriptions also feature a suggestion of how mature that specific episode’s content is (though the tone here is humorous just like everything else on the podcast). Episodes are bi-weekly.
This podcast taps into peoples’ interest in true stories about shocking and compelling crimes. It attempts to actually look deeper into an understanding of the crimes instead of simply describing what happened. It’s been going for several years and puts out two episodes each month. Episodes feature a variety of different types of crimes. Some recent episode titles include “Willie Bosket,” “Secrets and Séances,” “A Bump in the Night,” and “Vanish.”
Hello from the Magic Tavern
Hello from the Magic Tavern is a comedy podcast that features the fictional Arnie, a man from our world who accidentally fell into another world (through a portal behind a Burger King) and ended up in a place called Foon. Arnie hosts each podcast in the Vermillion Minotaur, his new land’s local tavern, and he includes co-hosts (a wizard and a talking badger). He typically brings people of interest from the land of Foon onto the show and interviews them. This podcast has been running for several years and will appeal to both comedy and fantasy fans.
How Did This Get Made?
This podcast features funny conversations about bad films. The hosts (including Paul Scheer), based on recommendations, watch bad movies with their guests and then discuss them. Some past guests have included Patton Oswalt, James Franco, Seth Rogen, John Mulaney, Anna Faris, Kevin Smith, and many more. New episodes come out every other week.
Important If True
Important If True is a somewhat new podcast (which started last year). The hosts discuss various interesting topics and do it with a sense of humor. They often talk about future technology, science, and life in general. They often go off on tangents describing funny imagined scenarios, and it’s never a boring or dry discussion. Some episode titles include “Alexa, Destroy Me,” “The Terrible Power of Knowledge,” and “Untethered From Reality.” It’s posted weekly (though at the time of writing this article, episodes may be released less frequently).
Stuff You Missed in History Class
This podcast is from How Stuff Works. It features interesting historical topics that you probably didn’t learn about and that will catch your interest. Some recent podcasts are titled “Ignaz Semmelweis and the War on Handwashing” and “Hawaii’s Legend of the Menehune.” Podcasts can be sorted and looked through by topic or by the century the information is set in.
Stuff You Should Know
This is another podcast brought to you by How Stuff Works. The concept of this podcast is that there are a lot of things you might not know about, including some basic information. Each podcast covers a different subject you could benefit from knowing more about. There are podcasts focused on topics like landmines, the evolution of language, trickle down economics, hoarding, crime scene cleanup, and much more. You can sort and look through podcasts by topic.
They Walk Among Us
This podcast is not for the faint of heart. True crime shows are highly popular entertainment these days, and this podcast fits the bill. They Walk Among Us is a true crime podcast that features real events set in the UK. They have episodes on subjects like “Wearside Jack,” Alan Turing, missing persons, and more.
Thrilling Adventure Hour
This now-ended podcast is set like an old radio program. It features fictional stories read by the cast in front of an actual audience. There’s music, humor, and some interesting tales. It ended a couple of years ago, but the good news is you can still listen to the old recordings, and they’re worth going back to listen to even knowing there’s not more to come. Since they were created to have an old-timey feel anyway, it doesn’t matter that the episodes are a few years old.
You Must Remember This
This podcast is a work of creative nonfiction that features the host (Karina Longworth) telling true stories set in Hollywood during the classic era. Each episode is carefully researched, put together, and hosted by Longworth. There have been stories about Bela Lugosi, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Charles Manson’s connections to Hollywood, and much more. It’s currently on break, and the new season is scheduled to begin this July. In the meantime, you can listen to previous episodes in the show’s archive.
Facebook is using their updated AR to make movie promotions a little more futuristic. In a recent announcement, they explained their use of augmented reality with posters for the films Ready Player One and A Wrinkle in Time.
According to their detailed post, all of the posters for the recent films work in conjunction with Facebook’s new augmented reality target tracking. They describe being able to simply open the Facebook camera, point your phone at one of the posters, and then see a specifically designed AR experience. The camera will be able to recognize certain images, including, Facebook says, things like logos and pictures.
They’re calling their new target tracking feature “persistent AR,” meaning the augmented reality experience is specifically connected to something in actual reality. They’ve also worked to make the AR particularly stable, designing it to keep working even if the image is blocked from view by the camera briefly—so someone getting in the way while you’re looking at one of the posters wouldn’t interrupt the AR experience. And the augmented reality experience can also be enabled through the use of things like QR codes, not just by pointing Facebook’s camera at the image.
According to Facebook, this new augmented reality feature is in closed beta right now. Ready Player One and A Wrinkle in Time are part of the closed beta. But their plan is to make this AR feature enjoyable and useful for everyone on both ends—companies and viewers alike. They believe companies can gain a lot from this different type of promotion. And the AR experiences will, they say, end up being able to be used by a lot of different phones, not just brand new pricey models. In fact, they say they’ve been focusing on making it workable with “older, lower end phones” so fewer people are left out of the fun.
Facebook says the developer toolkit for this feature will become available “later this spring.”
Potterheads, rejoice! After months of crossed fingers and unconfirmed whispers, Pottermore has announced the upcoming Harry Potter: Wizards Unite app that will use augmented reality to immerse players in the (totally real) wizarding world.
The game will come out at some point in the future under the newly-created Portkey Games label. The game is the child of both Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and—you probably guessed it—Niantic, the creators of Pokémon Go.
Not long after Pokémon Go burst onto the scene, the idea of a Harry Potter-style version of the AR game started spreading across social media. Some people were calling for its creation, discussing how it might work and how amazing it would be, while others began to spread rumors that the game was already being created. Some websites even began reporting the rumor as a fact. But until this past week, the rumors were still just that: rumors.
With the exciting news that an augmented reality Harry Potter game really is coming, Potter fans are understandably hyped, though it’s important to mention that there’s no suggested release date yet. Pottermore simply says there will be more information about the game in 2018. What news we have so far, though, makes the game sound pretty awesome.
Pottermore’s news release mentions that players will take part in “adventures” outside. You might run into creatures or well-known people from the wizarding world while you’re on one of these adventures. And the game will let players build a “wizarding career,” as well as cast spells (a feature that is surely a must-have for an AR app set in the world of Harry Potter) and take part in other activities.
Based on Harry Potter’s huge popularity around the world and the fact that Pokémon Go has done so well, it’s not hard to imagine Harry Potter: Wizards Unite creating another new wave of AR gaming hysteria. One reason some players dropped off from Pokémon Go was that they just felt as though the game hadn’t changed enough to keep interest. With Wizards Unite, it’ll give every player the chance to get back out and discover a new world in an exciting way. It also sounds like it will have some cool features that will keep players interested over time. You can bet I (and multitudes of other Potterheads) will be waiting impatiently for the new game.
Accio Wizards Unite!