Amazon EC2 is now available through VPC endpoints in the Europe (Milan) and Africa (Cape Town) regions, allowing you to access Amazon EC2 from within your Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) without traversing the internet.
Posted by Meher Vurimi, Product Manager
For more than seven years, Google Cast has made it easy for users to enjoy your content on the big screen with Chromecast or a Chromecast built-in TV. We’re always looking to improve the casting experiences, which is why we’re excited to introduce Cast Connect. This new feature allows users to cast directly to your Android TV app while still allowing control from your sender app.
Why is this helpful?
With Google Cast your app is the remote control – helping users find, play, pause, seek, stop, and otherwise control what they’re watching. It enables you to extend video or audio from your Android, iOS, or Chrome app to a TV or sound system. With Android TV, partners are able to build apps that let users experience your app’s immersive content on their TV screen and control with a remote.
With Cast Connect, we are combining the best of both worlds; first, by prioritizing playback via the Android TV app to deliver a richer and more immersive experience, and second, by allowing the user to still control their experience from your Android, iOS or Chrome app, and now, also directly using their Android TV’s remote control. Cast Connect helps the user easily engage with other content directly on the TV instead of only having to use your mobile device to browse for additional content.
Cast Connect User Journey on Stan
We’re working closely with a number of partners on bringing Cast Connect to their Apps and, most recently, we’re excited to announce that CBS and our Australian SVOD partner, Stan have launched Cast Connect. Starting today, the Cast Connect library is available on Android, iOS and Chrome. To get started with adding Cast Connect to your existing framework, head over to the Google Cast Developers site. Along the way, the Cast SDK team and the developer community are available to help you and answer questions on Stack Overflow by using the google-cast-connect tag.
Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) is now available in AWS Africa (Cape Town) and AWS Europe (Milan) Regions.
Posted by Mircea Trăichioiu, Software Engineer, Handwriting Recognition
A month ago, we announced changes to ML Kit to make mobile development with machine learning even easier. Today we’re announcing the addition of the Digital Ink Recognition API on both Android and iOS to allow developers to create apps where stylus and touch act as first class inputs.
Digital ink recognition: the latest addition to ML Kit’s APIs
Digital Ink Recognition is different from the existing Vision and Natural Language APIs in ML Kit, as it takes neither text nor images as input. Instead, it looks at the user’s strokes on the screen and recognizes what they are writing or drawing. This is the same technology that powers handwriting recognition in Gboard – Google’s own keyboard app, which we described in detail in a 2019 blog post. It’s also the same underlying technology used in the Quick, Draw! and AutoDraw experiments.
Handwriting input in Gboard
Turning doodles into art with Autodraw
With the new Digital Ink Recognition API, developers can now use this technology in their apps as well, for everything from letting users input text and figures with a finger or stylus to transcribing handwritten notes to make them searchable; all in near real time and entirely on-device.
Supports many languages and character sets
Digital Ink Recognition supports 300+ languages and 25+ writing systems including all major Latin languages, as well as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Cyrillic, and more. Classifiers parse written text into a string of characters
Other classifiers can describe shapes, such as drawings and emojis, by the class to which they belong (circle, square, happy face, etc). We currently support an autodraw sketch recognizer, an emoji recognizer, and a basic shape recognizer.
Digital Ink Recognition API runs on-device and does not require a network connection. However, you must download one or more models before you can use a recognizer. Models are downloaded on demand and are around 20MB in size. Refer to the model download documentation for more information.
The time to perform a recognition call depends on the exact device and the size of the input stroke sequence. On a typical mobile device recognizing a line of text takes about 100 ms.
How to get started
If you would like to start using Digital Ink Recognition in your mobile app, head over to the documentation or check out the sample apps for Android and iOS to see the API in action. For questions or feedback, please reach out to us through one of our community channels.
Starting today, AWS Batch is available in the Europe (Milan) AWS Region.
We are delighted to announce the launch of Custom Language Models (CLM) for Amazon Transcribe. Amazon Transcribe is an automatic speech recognition (ASR) service that makes it easy for you to add speech-to-text capabilities to your applications. Unlike the Custom Vocabulary feature, which enhances speech recognition for a discrete list of out-of-lexicon terms, CLM allows you to leverage pre-existing data to build a custom speech engine tailored for your transcription use case. Amazon Transcribe customers who operate in domains as diverse as law, finance, hospitality, insurance, and media all stand to benefit.
Today, we are announcing the general availability of AWS Wavelength on Verizon’s 5G Network in Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area, beginning in San Jose today and extending to the rest of the Bay Area in the coming weeks. Wavelength embeds AWS compute and storage services at the edge of communications service providers’ 5G networks while providing seamless access to cloud services running in an AWS Region. AWS Wavelength minimizes the latency and network hops required to connect to an application hosted in AWS from 5G devices. Developers can now deploy use cases that require ultra-low latency, such as inference at the edge, connected cars, smart cities and factories, Internet of Things (IoT), and interactive live video and game streaming.
Amazon EBS direct APIs for Snapshots now available in the Europe (Milan) and Africa (Cape Town) Regions
Starting today, Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) direct APIs for Snapshots are available in the Europe (Milan) and Africa (Cape Town) Regions. Using Amazon EBS direct APIs, customers can create snapshots of their block storage data, regardless of where it resides, including data on-premises. This enables customers to achieve business continuity in AWS at a lower cost and use the existing Fast Snapshot Restore feature to quickly recover this data into Amazon EBS volumes for use cases like disaster recovery.
AWS IoT Device Management increases the limit for concurrent Active Jobs to 1,000 per AWS account per region
We’re excited to announce that customers will be able to create up to 1,000 Active Jobs per AWS account per connected region. The prior limit was 100 active continuous jobs and 100 active snapshot jobs per AWS account. This new limit will apply to the total number of Jobs created – including both, continuous and snapshot jobs. The new limit applies to all commercial AWS regions where AWS IoT Device Management is available. The higher limits are reflected in your account automatically and you do not have to take any action. If your account has an approved limit that is higher than this new limit, you will continue to have the higher limit.
Genomics Tertiary Analysis and Machine Learning Using Amazon SageMaker is a new AWS Solutions Implementation that creates a scalable environment in AWS to develop machine learning models using genomics data, generate predictions, and evaluate model performance.
The AWS CodeDeploy Agent now has improved memory efficiency for Amazon Linux 2 (AL2), Ubuntu, and RHEL7 and added support for Ubuntu 19.10 and Ubuntu 20.04. Additionally, stability issues on Windows Server 2019 related to Disk Cleanup have been fixed. With this release AWS CodeDeploy has included AL2 and Windows Server 2019 as officially supported operating systems, making it easier to update AL2 and Windows Server 2019 applications hosted on Amazon EC2 and on-premises instances.
The Gymondo home workouts app combines personalized workout programs and healthy recipes based on your dietary needs to support your wellness goals. We sat down with the developer to learn more about why it was important to them to publish it on Amazon Fire TV.
Why have you initially decided to bring the Gymondo app to Fire TV?
When we launched Gymondo on Fire TV in 2016, we noticed few apps at the time that provided a well-rounded fitness service to customers. We saw an opportunity to fill that gap. Fire TV had started to become very popular in Germany and we observed a lot of product visibility and awareness rising in the market. We also acknowledged from our own research that customers were demanding more workout options on TV, and that they perceive TV as the most convenient device to consume online fitness content. That naturally lent itself to the opportunity of leveraging Fire TV in our distribution strategy, and also offered a valuable opportunity to offer another avenue for existing customers to access our content, and to acquire new users.
What are some of the key successes you have observed since launching the app on Fire TV?
There have been a number of success stories on Fire TV since launching our app. Some of the most noteworthy ones we would like to highlight:
- Number of users opening the app have quadrupled (Q1 2019 vs. Q1 2020).
- Significant increase in overall download numbers/customer base.
- 20% increase in number of 5star ratings (May 2020).
- Number of new registrations increased by 50% YOY (2018 vs. 2019), transforming strategy from retention to acquisition.
- Through Fire TV we were able to increase our international footprint in new international markets outside of Germany which include: Great Britain, USA, Canada Australia, Spain, France and Italy.
What makes your app unique in driving value for Fire TV customers?
We provide a native application that is designed to be used on TV, and it respects the UI and UX guidelines in order to offer a rich and seamless user experience. In addition the app is providing a highly personalized fitness experience in all stages of the user journey; from onboarding, surfacing recommendations, to creating a customized fitness profile.
Particularly during the current time, with more people spending time indoors, we are pleased that that our content offered people an efficient and easy to access work out experience at home and that customers are able to explore new and exciting fitness routines for themselves and their family members.
What is unique about Amazon Fire TV customers that you don’t see on other streaming devices?
Fire TV customers have high expectations and demand a premium, high quality app. We love that Fire TV users continuously push us to improve and innovate our services and features. With the support and guidance from the Fire TV team we value that there is an aligned vision to offer a very customer centric product that keeps delighting customers over and over again.
Which Fire TV engagement drivers / features have you implemented, or are you currently working on? And why?
We have integrated the In-App Purchasing (IAP) Amazon API that allows our app to present, process, and fulfill purchases of digital content and subscriptions within the Gymondo app. It has made our subscription management and conversion easier to our users, and overall allows for a smoother payment flow. In the past, we benefited from the release of a trial period. For the future, we are looking into implementing strike-through pricing.
We also use the Recommended By Your Apps Row, so it represents an opportunity for us to push content (not intrusive) and make it visible to any user who has the app installed on the home screen of the Fire TV device. This helps us to acquire and engage more users that did not register or convert by displaying free content regularly (recipes, workout of the day etc). It also allows engaged users to perform quick actions (e.g. play the next workout).
Getting started with Amazon Appstore
Amazon offers several tools and documents to get you started. You can test your existing APK within minutes to help you understand potentially required adaptations (if any). The Developer Portal also offers a variety of extensive documents to help you implement Amazon specific services, such as Reccomendations By Your Apps row or the In-App Purchasing API.