A Pulse Check on the Sero Beta

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Since we launched the beta of Sero, our "mother of all updates" on Mother's Day, we've been busy making further improvements to the product based on your extremely helpful feedback. At Serotek we’ve always been all about community, and we are heartened to note the community has not failed us in collaborating to make this a product we can all be proud of.

Here are a few highlights to date and some notes on future plans:

Thanks to your helpful feedback, we have improved the voice chat user experience, especially on iOS. Sero now announces when people enter or leave a chat room, and automatically reads new text chat messages. You can turn these announcements on or off on a per-computer or per-device basis. And on iOS, you no longer have to tap and hold a button to talk if you're not wearing a headset. Instead, Sero uses your iOS device's built-in echo cancellation capabilities to make sure that people don't hear themselves echo. We also added support for Bluetooth headsets on iOS. Note that we have not yet brought these enhancements to Android. Please accept our apologies for the delay, but we will change this very soon.

You’ve asked for better navigation. We've made it easier to get around various parts of the network, such as forums, bookmarks, and your newspaper, especially on mobile devices. In particular, the Back button now consistently behaves the way it’s supposed to.

Also in support of better navigation, we've been working on a much-improved search feature for content within Sero. About a week ago, we rolled out the first phase of this highly requested feature. When you search for content, Sero will now do a much better job of showing the most relevant search results at the top, and your searches will often finish faster as well. Now we're just about ready to roll out the second phase of our work on search. On all platforms, the search box will now be on the same screen as the list you're currently looking at, and search results will automatically be filled in as you type your query. We believe these improvements will make it much easier to find the content you're looking for within Sero.

Of course, we've also implemented many smaller improvements and bug fixes. For example, on Windows, you no longer lose your place on the home screen when it periodically refreshes. Also, the home screen and other list views now automatically refresh when they receive focus. For example, if you read and delete your new email, then come back to the home screen, the number of new messages at the top will update to reflect this change.

And we're not done yet. As we mentioned above, we will soon be enhancing voice chat on Android. After that, we'll improve downloading of content to your PC or device; in particular, we'll make it easy to download content in the background while you move on to other tasks. We'll also add the ability to post voice messages to the forums on all platforms that let third-party apps use a microphone; that means all platforms except Apple TV.

We know that you love all of the great content available within Sero, and we want to make it easy for you to share the love. So we're going to add the ability to rate and review content, share it on social networks, and follow your friends' ratings and reviews. We'll also make it easy for you to keep tabs on your favorite described TV shows, so you'll never miss a new season or episode again.

We realize that for Windows users, one of the most controversial changes that comes with Sero is the death of the SAMNet browser. Unfortunately, it's just not feasible for us to maintain our own browser anymore, and it doesn't really make sense for us to do so, with all of the great options available these days. We realize that not all of these options work well with our System Access screen reader just yet. In particular, we're going to be enhancing support for Firefox and Chrome within System Access. And once Microsoft has finished adding the necessary accessibility support to the Edge browser on Windows 10, we will fully support it within System Access. While the SAMNet browser that you've known and loved for years will be going away, you will have some great new options to take its place.

Of course, we'll continue to polish the Sero app and fix bugs as we prepare to move it out of beta. Your feedback will help us make Sero the best that it can be across all of the platforms we support.

Think that’s it? Hold on, sit still a moment longer.

You see, even after Sero comes out of beta, we have big plans for the future of this app. The word "Sero" means connected, and we want Sero to keep you connected to all aspects of your life. For us, one of the most exciting developments in recent years is that after decades of being the sole province of geeks, home automation is now finally ready for the everyday person. We think we can make it even easier for you to take advantage of all of the exciting possibilities for more independent living that home automation has to offer. Our work on home automation is still in the research and early development phase, but we are confident that with Sero, we'll be able to bring easy home automation to whatever platform or platforms you use. Stay tuned! This is only the beginning.

But, right now, the best thing you can do to help move this project along is to jump into the beta program and get your friends to do the same! The more people we can get to kick the tires, the smoother the ride for everyone involved. We’re fast approaching the maximum number of available seats for the beta program, so please don’t assume you’ll have time to check things out later. Right now is the time to get in there and enjoy all the features of the Sero ecosystem absolutely free!

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