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Redbox makes second go at online streaming, Google Maps gets 'Wi-Fi only' mode

Better known for its DVD and Blu-ray rental kiosks, Redbox is reportedly braving a second foray into online streaming. Google, meanwhile, is rolling out a new "Wi-Fi only" option for data-conscious users of its Maps mobile app.




Redbox is trialing a new service, Redbox Digital, with a select group of customers, according to Variety. An iPad app was quietly released on the App Store last month, and can only be used by trial participants.

Because the service is an experimental phase, it's not clear when if or when it will launch, and how much it might cost. Given prices on services like iTunes, Vudu, and Google Play, however, digital rentals will likely be more than the $1.50 charged at kiosks. An HD iTunes rental, for instance, is typically $5-6 —which can be nearly half the cost of owning a film outright in some cases.

Sources for Variety claimed that the company is deliberately avoiding a Netflix-style subscription service. A partnership with Verizon, Redbox Instant, was launched in 2013 but shut down 18 months later after weak demand.

Redbox Digital already appears to support the Google Chromecast, and the Variety sources said that Redbox is hoping to support Roku devices as well. There's no word on whether an Apple TV app might be planned.

Google Maps






Wi-Fi-only support is currently rolling out to handful of Google Maps users, Android Police noted. It's not clear if the feature is Android-only so far, but regardless, Google tends to eventually migrate Android Maps features to iOS whenever feasible.

If present the option should replace "Offline areas" under the Settings menu. When active, Maps will only work in areas for which a person has cached data, though Google cautions the app may still consume a "small amount" of cellular data.

The company may also be testing notifications for mass transit delays. One AP reader who encountered the option noted that a toggle failed to work, and an associated screen vanished after Maps was reopened.