Archives for March 2012

BBC Red Button Blog 31st March - 7th April

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Tess Foster Tess Foster | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 31 March 2012

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Lauren's turning 18...

You can enjoy exclusive EastEnders scenes on the Red Button this week!

Lauren's turning 18 - but how will she celebrate? Let her take you on a journey from birthday party hell to heaven - and beyond...

Available on all platforms

Freesat/Sky/Virgin Media:
Sun 1st April, 2:50pm-6:30pm

Sun 1st April, 2:50pm-4:30pm

Love to Learn

Press the Red Button to play the CBeebies Love to Learn Quiz where you can have fun with all the family learning about words and numbers with CBeebies presenters Alex and Cerrie.

The quiz features questions on a variety of CBeebies favourites including the Numberjacks, Abadas, Alphablocks, Numtums and The Lingo Show. Choc full of great clips, the quiz is just for fun but viewers can play again and again to improve their score.

The quiz will be split into two parts: Part 1 will be available from Monday April 2nd until Saturday 7th April and Part 2 will be available from Sunday 8th April until Friday 13th April.

For more information on all the CBeebies characters please visit:

Available on Sky/Freeview

Mon 2nd April - Fri 6th April, 6:00am-7:00pm
Sat 7th April, 6:00am-3:30pm

Mon 2nd April, 6:00am-7:00pm
Tue 3rd April, 6:00am-7:00pm
Wed 4th April, 6:00am-9:45am, 12:35pm-2:50pm
Thu 5th April, 6:00am-9:50am, 2:40pm-6:50pm
Fri 6th April, 6:00am-8:50am
Sat 7th April, 6:00am-7:05am



Adele in concert

You can check out extra performances and behind the scenes chat with Adele on the Red Button this week!

Press red immediately after her Albert Hall concert on BBC One.

Available on all platforms

Freesat/Sky/Virgin Media:
Thu 5th April, 11:30pm-4:00am
Fri 6th April, 9:00pm-4:00am

Thu 5th April, 11:30pm-4:00am
Fri 6th April, 9:10pm-4:00am

Deadly 60 Quiz

Are you ready to take on the deadliest quiz ever? Steve Backshall is returning with some more deadly round-the-world adventures. Press red to play along and find out if you've got the world's most deadly mind.

There will be a sneak peek at series 3, through a deadly dozen of quality questions, with Steve helping you along the way. Do you know your hippos from your hyenas? Your humpbacks from your hammerheads? See if you can get a deadly dozen correct! You can even play again and improve your score.

The Deadly 60 Quiz - play it now if you dare!

Available on Sky/Freeview

Sat 31st March, 7:00am-2:00pm
Sun 1st April, 7:00am-7:00pm

Sat 31st March, 7:00am-2:20pm
Sun 1st April, 12:10pm-2:40pm
Sun 1st April, 4:40pm-7:00pm

Talk Season

Tune into BBC Red Button for highlights of fascinating interviews from the recently launched BBC Four Talk archive collection.

Available on all platforms

Freesat/Sky/Virgin Media:
Sat 31st March, 9:40pm-4:00am
Sun 1st April - Fri 6th April, 7:00pm-4:00am

Mon 2nd April, 7:10pm-4:00am
Tue 3rd April, 10:10pm-4:00am
Wed 4th April, 9:10pm-4:00am

In It To Win It

Dale Winton returns with another series of In It To Win It, the game show where people compete on general knowledge for a big money jackpot.

Think you can do better? Every Saturday press the Red Button during the show to pit your wits against our studio contestants. Come the final round will you still be In It To Win It?

Available on Sky:

Sat 31st March, 3:00pm-9:10pm

Sat 7th April, 3:00pm-9:10pm

Available on Freeview:
Sat 31st March, 6:00pm-9:10pm
Sat 7th April, 6:00pm-9:10pm

CBBC Extra

Press red on the CBBC channel this week to see Chris and Dodge introducing some top drawer CBBC action. Don't miss our exclusive look behind the scenes on a new Horrible Histories shoot and see what Chris and Dodge got up to when they travelled back through time!

You can also read Chris and Dodge's blog, answers to some of your ace questions, read Dodge's horoscopes and see if the jokes that made Chris LOL will do the same to you.

Go on, press red... You know you want to!

CBBC Extra website

Available on all platforms

Freesat/Sky/Virgin Media:
Sat 31st March, 7:00am-10:00am
Mon 2nd April - Fri 6th April, 7:00am-10:00am, 3:00pm-6:00pm
Sat 7th April, 7:00am-10:00am

Wed 4th April, 3:00pm-6:00pm
Fri 6th April, 3:15pm-5:05pm

News Multiscreen: Video Choice

Each weekday BBC News' On Demand team will be rounding-up the day's strongest news pictures to bring viewers a two-minute package of highlights. On weekends the tone becomes more conversational when Red Button viewers can watch a topical interview in 'Five Minutes with...' or a round-up of the week's weird and wonderful videos in OddBox.

  • Video Choice: Weekdays (available around the clock)
  • Five Minutes With... / OddBox: Weekends (around the clock)

BBC News website

Available on Sky and Virgin only

CBeebies Red Button

BBC Red Button welcomes younger viewers and grown-ups with a sense of adventure to the big, bright and fun world of CBeebies interactive!

Now your children's favourite characters are at the heart of the interactive TV experience. Satellite and digital terrestrial viewers will have slightly different offerings from one another. This has enabled us to offer the best games tailored to each system.

CBeebies Red Button is available now on the CBeebies channel, and via page 5900 on other channels.

Cbeebies website

Available on Freeview and Sky only

BBC Sport Multiscreen**

Catch up on all the latest Sport via the BBC Sport multiscreen. Headlines are available around the clock with up to five additional streams available to cover the best that BBC Sport has to offer.

Please note that Red Button sport timings are subject to change at short notice.

For the latest information refer to the BBC Sport website.


  • Cycling - World Track Championships live coverage from Melbourne.
  • Golf - The Masters 2012 highlights from Augusta.
  • MotoGP - Live coverage of MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 round 1 qualifying from the Losail Circuit, Doha.

**Note all Red Button times are subject to change at short notice

The BBC's approach to streaming the digital Olympics

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Richard Cooper Richard Cooper | 16:58 UK time, Friday, 30 March 2012

I'm Richard Cooper, Controller of Digital Distribution at the BBC, and I'd like to talk a bit about the BBC's preparations for London 2012, the first truly digital Olympics.

Like everyone else in the UK involved with bringing the games to a digital audience, the BBC is preparing for the increased amount of people watching and engaging with events online. Our comprehensive live online coverage will offer Olympics audiences, for the first time ever, the chance to watch every Olympic sport, live from every venue - from the big events, to minority disciplines which normally wouldn't be broadcast.

As with all big sporting occasions, our traffic will vary during the day depending on the event, competitor, team and timing. Where we need to prepare most is around the big moments - for example, when Team GB is (hopefully) in the running for a medal - which have the potential to drive a lot of people to our online streams. This is not new for us. The BBC has proven it can cope well with big event streaming: in 2010 we brought the World Cup live to online audiences, and dealt with increased traffic comfortably.

We did this by expanding our streaming capacity, which we do every year to accommodate inevitable increases in people watching our content online and across connected devices. We've already expanded our capacity this year in preparation for the Olympics. As in 2010, we've ensured this increase will enable us to handle the high levels of traffic we expect to see during the games.

We're aiming to deliver more content from the Olympics than ever before, live and on catch-up, and we're fully prepared to meet the demands of that pledge.

Richard Cooper is Controller, Digital Distribution, BBC Future Media

Sport Olympic Service Update

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Andrew Pipes Andrew Pipes | 09:38 UK time, Wednesday, 28 March 2012

China, the US, and Russia came first second and third in the 2008 medal table

New format medal table, showing the 2008 medal tallies

Hi, I'm Andy Pipes, and I work with Cait O'Riordan on the London 2012 programme for BBC Future Media. Specifically, I lead the development of the Olympics area within the Sport website.

Last month, we announced the arrival of some of our new pages, such as key athletes, countries, and events at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and this month we are rolling out some more new features.

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BBC News on mobile: site refresh

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Kate Milner | 13:05 UK time, Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Views of Cameron's dive into the Mariana trench on three different phones

Responsive design means that the mobile BBC News site can adapt to different devices

I’m Kate Milner, mobile product manager for BBC News. I’m pleased to tell you that today we relaunched the BBC News mobile website for audiences in the UK and around the world.

The new-look site is designed to work on a range of mobile devices and screen sizes, whether your phone is a touchscreen one or whether you use a keypad or trackball. Now when you browse the mobile site, what you see will be tailored to the device you have in your hand, for example the way you move around the news sections and the number of images you see.

You can visit the new site on your mobile at

I’ve been working with a talented team of developers and designers to deliver this new product and today is just the start of a number of improvements we plan to offer to make it easier for you to access BBC News on a range of mobile devices.

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BBC News on mobile: responsive design

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Chris Russell | 13:00 UK time, Tuesday, 27 March 2012

BBC News mobile index page on a tablet

The BBC News mobile site responsively adapts to a tablet

As Head of Product I am responsible for the way in which we deliver BBC News to people on desktop computers, mobile phones, tablet devices and televisions connected to the internet or red button, the four screens of our BBC Online strategy.

If you're one of the large and rapidly growing number of people who use BBC News Online on more than one digital device, you’re likely to start noticing some changes in the next few weeks and months.

In particular, the minority of users who still use the mobile web browser version of our product will see it change, and I’ll explain how that is part of a wider “under the bonnet” project which will ultimately benefit the News Online product as a whole, on all screens.

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What's On BBC Red Button 24th - 31st March

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Tess Foster Tess Foster | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 24 March 2012

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JLS Sing Sport Relief


JLS host this special show from the O2 in London for Sport Relief

Join the boys as they perform many of their big tunes in a spectacular all singing-all dancing live show which also involves the odd bit of acrobatics.

They'll also be joined on the day by special guests Olly Murs and Rizzle Kicks who will be performing some of their own big tunes along with the odd surprise star turn to interrupt proceedings.

The red button audience will be treated to some exclusive extra performances after the concert on BBC3.

To find out how to donate and more go to Sport Relief.

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BBC Homepage Three Months On

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James Thornett James Thornett | 10:40 UK time, Thursday, 22 March 2012

Looking at the homepage on a white laptop in a cafe, over the shoulder of a blurred patron. There is a cappucino on the mock marble tabletop.

The new BBC Homepage launched on 30th November 2011

It's now over three months since we re-launched the BBC Homepage in the UK and I'd like to share with you how the page has been performing and what the team have been working on during this time.

Since the launch last year we have made six releases of new code to the page, the latest being on last Monday.

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Launch of Mobile Homepage

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Eleni Sharp Eleni Sharp | 14:00 UK time, Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Mobile homepage mockups on a wall, viewed through cut-outs of different mobile phone models.

working on mobile homepage designs

I'm Eleni Sharp, product manager of the BBC mobile Homepage. I'm pleased to announce we have launched the mobile page in Beta mode for public use and feedback today. The Beta is accessible from a promo at the top of the current mobile homepage, directly at or you can go straight to it by scanning the QR code below.

(QR code for scanning by cameraphones)

QR code

The opportunity

One in seven of our visitors now come to the BBC Homepage via a mobile device, and this is set to grow as 55% of mobile phone owners in the UK now own a smartphone.

The current mobile homepage wasn't meeting our users increased needs and expectations; we wanted to improve this experience and bring it more in line with the desktop version which launched at the end of last year.

The Homepage's role is to bring together all the different areas of the BBC and showcase the absolute best of BBC content, and by offering customisation let you decide which content you would like to see on your BBC Homepage.

People use mobile devices in a very different way to a traditional computer at home, so we had a design challenge to ensure the content was quickly scannable but meaningful.

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More Ambience for BBC Weather - and other improvements

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Jo Wickremasinghe Jo Wickremasinghe | 17:00 UK time, Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Firstly, let me introduce myself. Formerly the Head of Product for BBC Homepage, I came back to the BBC in late January this year after maternity leave and I've taken over as Head of Product for Weather & Travel News from Peter Deslandes. In earlier posts, Peter gave an overview of the new BBC Weather site that was launched in October 2011. Peter subsequently posted about updates we made to BBC Weather including adding colour to temperatures and improving visibility of the weather on maps.

Since then we've continued to receive and review feedback from you about how we can further improve the BBC Weather site. We have been working on a few of these changes over the past weeks and months. Today we released a couple of changes we hope you'll like.

Page ambiences

In November Melanie Seyer gave a detailed overview of the BBC Weather Design Refresh in Pictures. In that post Melanie described our plan to introduce page ambience as a way for us to inject personality into the site, by reflecting the current weather at your selected location. Today we've rolled out page ambiences for both UK and International locations. The ambience reflects the latest forecast for the selected location.

Weather forecast for Canterbury with a blue sky behind it.

Sunny skies over Canterbury, Kent

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BBC iPlayer launches on XBox 360

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Dave Price Dave Price | 08:30 UK time, Tuesday, 20 March 2012

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash Installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

Product Manager Chris Tangye demonstrates BBC iPlayer on XBox 360

I'm Dave Price, the head of BBC iPlayer, and I'm thrilled to let you know that as of this morning, BBC iPlayer is available on the Xbox 360.

As we've said in our press release, today's launch means that BBC iPlayer is now on all major games consoles in the UK. Users of Sony Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, and the Xbox 360 all have access to the BBC programmes they know and love for free, using BBC iPlayer.

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BBC Red Button Blog 17th - 24th March

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Tess Foster Tess Foster | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 17 March 2012

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6 Music's 10th Birthday


6 Music celebrates: John Lydon at the Southbank Centre show

6 Music are currently celebrating their 10th birthday and highlights from a very special night of live music at London's Southbank Centre will be available on the Red Button this week.

With performances in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room and The Front Room, we'll be bringing you the kind of live performances you've come to know and love from 6 Music over the last decade.

Featured artists include Public Image Ltd (performing new material for the first time in 20 years), Graham Coxon, Laura Marling, Gruff Rhys, Anna Calvi, Lianne La Havas, and Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny. A host of 6 Music DJs will be guiding you through the mayhem.

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A Quick Download on Project Barcelona

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Roly Keating | 11:00 UK time, Friday, 16 March 2012

As the BBC's Director of Archive Content, the teams I work with are always looking for new and better ways to make the BBC’s archive available to audiences, and on Wednesday night Mark Thompson in his speech to the Royal Television Society gave a brief glimpse of one of the projects that’s currently under development.

The idea behind Project Barcelona (no, none of us can remember why it’s called that) is to expand very significantly the range of BBC content that’s available in the UK on a download-to-own basis. 'DTO' as it's often called is the digital equivalent of purchasing a DVD, or a VHS in the old days – a permanent copy of a favourite programme to own and keep.

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BBC Red Button Blog 10th - 17th March

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Tess Foster Tess Foster | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 10 March 2012

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6 Music 10th Birthday

Take an exclusive look into what life has been like for Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) while he has been in prison.

Follow Phil as he's given the task of showing new young prisoner Devon (Tobi Bakare) the ropes. But when Devon clashes with the prison's dangerous top dog, Craig Jenkins (Glenn Doherty), how far is Phil prepared to go to save someone else? The red button is sure to reveal all.

For the latest on Phil's story visit EastEnders

Available on all platforms

Freesat/Sky/Virgin Media:
Mon 12th March, 8:25pm-4:00am

Mon 12th March, 8:25pm-11:50pm

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5 Interesting Stories this Fortnight: regions, reaching, Russians, Red Button, and roaring

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Ian McDonald Ian McDonald | 17:00 UK time, Friday, 9 March 2012

Young elephant in a hilly wood, eating

Research and Development used a picture of an Elephant (amongst other animal images) to see if young children could navigate a website by choosing pictures by making animal noises. Photo by author.

There are been several interesting stories about reaching people - potential local radio contributors, households with diverse TV connections, smart TV owners who find setting up on-demand too difficult, Russians with bad internet connections, and infants who haven't yet learnt how to use a mouse.

1. English Regions: thou shalt tweet (or at least read them)

On Monday 27th February, the BBC's English Regions (regional TV, local radio, local websites) released their new social media strategy (PDF). Social Media Lead for the English Regions Robin Morley blogged about it at the College of Journalism:

We're not saying that every one of our people must tweet. But they all need to understand how key social media tools work, why they're important, and how to use them in a professional capacity.

Aaron Bradly, an internet marketer in Canada, found the new guidelines compelling:

But what if you're a slouch, Luddite or the journalistic equivalent of a old salty sea dog ("I report news, dammit, not gossip online!)? Check out objective #5:

5. Social media to be a formal element in performance review - especially growth (or otherwise) in engagement stats.

When Brett Spencer - an Interactive Editor for a national station - ran his local station, Three Counties Radio in 2010, he transformed its use of social media and increased listenership.

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Introducing the BBC News Control Panel on Facebook

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Gareth Owen Gareth Owen | 12:10 UK time, Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Screenshot of BBC News control panel Facebook app, showing which BBC News topics and correspondents you are subscribed to.

BBC News Control Panel beta

I'd like to tell you about a new feature we are introducing designed to give you greater choice in how you keep in touch with BBC News if you use Facebook.

We've created a Control Panel for the BBC News Facebook page which will allow you to personalise the mix of content you see in your Facebook news feed.

As Product Manager for the BBC News website, I've observed big changes over the years to the way in which people are arriving at the site.

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What's On BBC Red Button 3rd - 10th March

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Tess Foster Tess Foster | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 3 March 2012

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Talk Season

Tune into BBC Red Button for highlights of fascinating interviews from the BBC Four Talk archive collection, recently launched on BBC Four.

Available on Sky/Virgin Media/Freesat:
Sat 10th March, 21:50pm-04:00am

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iPlayer App on iPhone and iPad: two playout problems fixed

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David Madden | 17:38 UK time, Friday, 2 March 2012

A number of people have contacted us to say that they were having problems playing programmes in the BBC iPlayer iPad and iPhone apps.

Some people have seen a black screen, with audio only, appear while playing a programme; while others have told us that programmes were suddenly restarting while you were watching. I understand how frustrating it is to have programmes interrupted in this way.

We always take operational issues seriously and our technical teams have been working hard to diagnose the cause of these problems.

Today we identified an underlying issue at the Content Delivery Network (CDN) which provides the BBC and some other broadcasters with video distribution over the internet. Our CDN partner has now deployed a fix which should resolve both the black screen problem and the programmes restarting issue. We are monitoring this closely over the weekend to ensure everything is working as it should.

Many thanks for all your feedback on this and we appreciate your patience while we investigated the problem.

David Madden is Executive Product Manager for BBC iPlayer on mobile

Me and My TV - How Can we Connect?

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Daniel Danker Daniel Danker | 17:00 UK time, Friday, 2 March 2012

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash Installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

Today, I spoke at the Digital TV Group (DTG) Summit in London. For those who don’t know, the DTG is the industry association for digital television in the UK, so I was keen to share my thoughts with them about how “Connected” or “Smart” TVs fit with our strategy, their huge potential in the future, but also the real need to improve today’s audience experience on these devices.

The aim of my presentation was to convince the group that if connected TV is going to be successful with mainstream audiences, using a connected TV needs to be no more complicated than channel flipping. And I firmly believe that this is achievable; that there’s no reason connected TV can’t be that simple to use.

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BBC World Service iPhone App in Russian

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Phil Buckley Phil Buckley | 13:16 UK time, Friday, 2 March 2012

Capture of Russian iPhone app, with text in Cyrillic.

World Service Russian iPhone App Homepage

I'm delighted to say that we released a News App in Russian for the iPhone yesterday.

You can find the BBC News app (Новости Би-би-си) in the App store and get stories, breaking news, and video in Russian delivered straight to your mobile.

This is the latest step in a long history of Russian output. World Service Radio started broadcasting the occasional show in Russian in 1942 (see slide 11 on the link), and became a full service in 1946.

Since last year the service has been internet only and BBC Russian is a full service news site, with 30+ articles a day along with audio and video content, the best of which is now available in the app.

Unlike the website however, the app allows you to browse offline. This should be very useful for anyone with variable internet access; we also know that some of our audience simply prefer using apps to the browser on their phones.

How we built and tested the app

This is the first foreign language app the BBC has produced and we hope there will be many more. However, building an app for all the World Services's 27 languages on every platform would be hugely expensive. So, we hope we have an innovative solution to this, by using a system called PhoneGap, which allows you to develop apps for a number of operating systems from a single codebase. This should allow us to roll out not only the app code to more of our languages, but also the Russian app to other operating systems such as Android.

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