Google Chat goes free in 2021, while Hangouts loses features this month

Since it can be hard to keep track of the dozen-or-so messaging products Google has released over the years, before we get started, here’s a glossary of the Google messaging apps that will be referenced in this article.

The single fact that this isn’t a snide remark but a simple acceptance of reality is always telling.

There’s a lot of back and forth by Google in this space but what’s more striking is how the company insists on handling some transitions so awkwardly. Google Chat is supposed to take Google Hangouts’ place in the messaging portfolio. And yet Hangouts is being stripped of features before those are added to Chat so as to ease user transition. Why on earth wouldn’t Google just push the transition further down the line to try and time everything better is something I don’t get personally. The company’s IM strategy is muddled already that any move that doesn’t go hand in hand with absolute clarity only works to its detriment at this point.

GitHub takes down YouTube video download tools after an RIAA notice

YouTube-DL fans pointed out, however, that not everyone uses the tool for piracy. Some people use it to download a backup of their own content, while others use it to archive videos that could be taken down anytime due to one reason or another.

RIAA is trying to claim that since a tool can be used to commit a crime, a tool is also illegal. To which I feel obligated to point out that we live in a world that understands morphine has proper medical uses, despite also being a controlled substance that can prove lethal to individuals, unlike YouTube-DL which YouTube itself doesn’t take much issue with (which lives off of ad revenue, ad revenue that are only generated when someone streams instead of downloads with YouTube-DL) and can, at worst, lead to some profit loss.

And don’t get me started on the idea that any pirated copy of anything equals profit loss, so battling piracy automatically means such and such profit will be made instead. This isn’t how reality works.

The Closing Walls Around China’s Independent Game Developers

EGM’s article is quite the glimpse in what may feel like another dimension to many so I found myself struggling to not quote have of it here.

“You need to get the copyright files in China, which is not expensive, but you’d better have a partner in China to help you with it; then you must have a partner in China to help you to get the game license.” Developers told me that it isn’t a matter of just submitting an application to the appropriate department and requesting for a license. Instead, they have to work with a traditional publishing house—yes, those that publish books and other literature—which will apply for the license on the developer’s behalf. If the license is awarded, developers will have to send monthly reports to this publishing house.

You have to work with a print publisher. Then work with a games publisher. I don’t even know what to say.

Garner explained that this is why Another Indie has moved its operations from China to Taipei. “I’m an indie publisher that was in China, and now lives in Taiwan so that I can do things. I mean, the reason why we did it was mainly because we need access to the internet. It was just a case of like, well, how can I run a publishing company when I suddenly can’t upload my trailer to YouTube, or things like that?

It’s only natural for a Chinese or China-based games publisher to want to look towards the international market. But local restrictions can make it impossible to use tools and platforms that the game developers and publishers elsewhere in the world rely on on a daily basis. So much so Another Indie had to move out of mainland China just to be able to function as an international publisher.