App Allowing Chinese Citizens Access to Global Internet Quickly Disappears | Voice of America

WASHINGTON – A mobile app launched last week in China that many there hoped would allow access to long banned Western social media sites abruptly disappeared from Chinese app stores a day after its unveiling.

Tuber, an Andriod app backed by Chinese cyber security software giant Qihoo 360, first appeared to be officially available last Friday. It offered Chinese citizens limited access to websites such as YouTube, Facebook and Google, and it facilitated some 5 million downloads following its debut.

Yet a day later, the Tuber app disappeared from mobile app stores, including one run by Huawei Technologies Co. A search for the app’s website yielded no results when VOA checked Monday. It’s unclear whether the government ordered the takedown of the app.

Experts told VOA that such ventures are sometimes designed to create the illusion of choice to users eager to gain access to the global internet, but these circumvention tools are sometimes deleted if they are deemed by the Chinese government to be too popular with consumers.

FILE PHOTO: The messenger app WeChat is seen next to its logo in this illustration picture taken Aug. 7, 2020.

Short-lived frenzy

Chinese users hailed their newfound ability to visit long banned websites before the app was removed last Saturday.

Several now banned articles introducing Tuber went viral Friday on China’s super app WeChat and seem to have contributed to Tuber’s overnight success.

Sporting a logo similar to that of YouTube, Tuber’s main page offered a feed of YouTube videos, while another tab allowed users go to Western websites banned in China.

A reporter at Chinese state media Global Times tweeted that the move is “good for China’s stability and it’s a great step for China’s opening up.”

This SEO Expert Says Businesses Should Optimize For Voice Search Now

This article series spotlights key business trends identified by the expert members of Forbes Councils. Find out if you qualify for Forbes Agency Council here.

According to a recent report by Strategy Analytics, global smart speaker sales hit record highs in 2019, with 147 million units sold, representing a 70% increase. Smart speakers and virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple’s Siri have become prolific in recent years, as hands-free voice command becomes the dominant way consumers perform searches, shop online and complete everyday tasks. 

This has substantial implications for both big brands and small businesses. According to Think with Google, 27% of the world’s population is now using mobile voice search. A recent PwC survey of a representative group of 1,000 Americans found that 90% of consumers are familiar with voice-enabled devices and 72% of them have taken advantage of this technology. In 2018, a study by Bright Local revealed that nearly half of consumers who use voice search seek local business information daily. 

Forbes Agency Council member Victor Smushkevich is the founder of Smart Street Media, a Los Angeles-based full-service digital marketing agency specializing in SEO and lead generation. Having generated hundreds of millions of dollars for clients over the past 11 years, Smushkevich has been closely monitoring the exponential growth of voice search and weighing its implications for business. He said voice-activated search is poised to overtake browser search in the near future. 

“I’ve witnessed many industry trends and have helped businesses adjust to meet each one. And I believe the use of smart speakers or virtual assistants is the most critical trend of them all,” Smushkevich said. “These devices are redefining how consumers get

Twitter will add transcriptions for voice tweets to promote accessibility

twitter-logo-1

Twitter is working on adding transcriptions to voice tweets.


Angela Lang/CNET

Twitter said it’s working on adding transcriptions to voice tweets in order to make the feature, which it began testing in the summer, more accessible. This comes after many criticized the social media platform for not taking all users’ needs into consideration before the release.

“We’re rolling out voice Tweets to more of you on iOS so we can keep learning about how people use audio,” the company said in a tweet on Tuesday. “Since introducing the feature in June, we’ve taken your feedback seriously and are working to have transcription available to make voice Tweets more accessible.”

When Twitter first rolled out voice tweets, many took to the platform to voice their concerns about the company not making the feature accessible to people with disabilities.

“We’re sorry about testing voice Tweets without support for people who are visually impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing,” the company tweeted in June. “It was a miss to introduce this experiment without this support. Accessibility should not be an afterthought.” 

At the time, Twitter added it had “fixed several issues related to vision accessibility, including making voice Tweets identifiable on the timeline and making accessibility improvements to the voice Tweet experience.” The company also mentioned then that it was looking into ways to support manual and auto transcriptions.

In

Twitter Expands Rollout of Voice Tweets Feature for iOS Users

Twitter says it’s making its voice tweets feature available to more users on iOS. Launched in June for a limited number of users, voice tweets is designed to allow people to tweet with their voice, sending voice-based messages instead of text.


Voice tweets can be created by opening up the tweet composer and tapping the new wavelengths icon. A screen then opens with a user’s Twitter icon, which can be tapped to begin a recording.

Twitter users can capture up to 140 seconds of audio, but continuous recording is possible and longer audio will create multiple voice tweets.

Listening to a voice tweet can be done by tapping on the image in the Twitter timeline. On iOS, playback starts in an audio player that’s docked at the bottom of the timeline so users can continue to scroll through Twitter.


Since their arrival on iOS, voice tweets have been criticized for lacking accessibility in the form of audio transcriptions. That criticism led Twitter employees to reveal they’d been asked to volunteer their time on top of their usual work to focus on accessibility.

The ensuing flak led Twitter to tell The Verge that it was exploring how to build a “more dedicated group” to focus on accessibility, and the company has since announced new two teams in that vein. Twitter subsequently said it plans to add automated captions to audio and video on the platform by “early 2021.”

Source Article

Twitter’s voice tweets are rolling out to more iOS users, and transcriptions are on the way

Twitter has just expanded its voice tweets feature, which lets you record a snippet of audio to include with a tweet, to more users on iOS. But perhaps more significantly, Twitter is now saying it plans to add transcriptions to voice tweets to improve accessibility, which could help address criticisms from the feature’s June 17th launch.

If you want to get an idea of how voice tweets work right now, just press play on the below tweet to hear a voice clip from my colleague Tom Warren. There’s currently no way to see captions or a transcription of what he’s saying. (Note: Tom is not actually sharing exclusive next-gen console news.)

Without any way to see a transcription, voice tweets were quickly criticized for not being accessible. Then it came to light that there wasn’t a dedicated team at Twitter for accessibility — instead, the company asked employees to volunteer their time on top of their usual work to focus on accessibility. That all meant that one day after voice tweets were announced, the company told The Verge it was exploring how to make a “more dedicated group” focused on accessibility.

Twitter has since announced two new teams dedicated to accessibility, on September 2nd: one promoting accessibility within Twitter’s products, and one focusing on accessibility for Twitter as a business. And as part of that announcement, Twitter said it’s planning to add automated captions to audio and video on the platform by “early 2021.”

It’s unclear when transcriptions might be available in voice tweets. Twitter didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment. And if you want to try voice tweets on other platforms, you might have to wait awhile — the company said on its Twitter Support account that voice tweets would be coming to Android and the