Google Makes Multi-Participant Video Streaming Platform Meet Free to All Users

Google Makes Multi-Participant Video Streaming Platform Meet Free to All Users

Google has very clearly had enough of the hype around video streaming platform Zoom, as Zoom usage takes off during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Google, of course, has its own, dedicated, multi-participant video conferencing option, called Google Meet, but up till now, Google Meet access has been limited to paying G Suite customers. Now, Google’s changing that – this week, Google has announced that Google Meet will be made available, for free, to everyone, for meetings of up to 100 people at a time, for up to 60 minutes in duration – and even longer untill September 30th. As explained by Google: “Today, we’re making Google Meet, our premium video conferencing product, […]

Snapchat Leans Taps the Rising Popularity of its Snap Camera for New AR Campaigns

Snapchat Leans Taps the Rising Popularity of its Snap Camera for New AR Campaigns

With usage of its Snap Camera webcam add-on rising amid the COVID-19 lockdowns, Snapchat’s working with a range of brands on new, integrated AR campaigns within the tool. The latest initiative comes from beauty brand L’Oréal​, which has launched a new Snap Camera integration that enables users to virtually try-on different looks on screen. As explained by L’Oréal: “L’Oréal USA has released eight custom-branded augmented reality lenses for the Snap Camera desktop platform, in a first-of-its-kind partnership between the beauty leader and Snap Inc. The L’Oréal USA branded lenses will be featured on Snap Camera for one week in a dedicated “beauty” area on the platform’s opening page.” As you can see […]

Instagram is Testing a New ‘DM Me’ Sticker to Prompt Messaging Interaction from Stories

Instagram is Testing a New ‘DM Me’ Sticker to Prompt Messaging Interaction from Stories

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this yet, but according to a new discovery by reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong, Instagram is working on a new ‘DM Me’ sticker for Instagram Stories, which would prompt direct message engagement from your Stories content by tapping on the sticker image. I mean, it makes sense from a usage standpoint. Like all messaging options, usage of Instagram Direct has been on the rise over the last few years, and that’s spiked even further during COVID-19, with Facebook reporting a 50% increase in total messaging volume across its apps in March. In this respect, there’s clear logic to Instagram looking to […]

Facebook Closes in on New Milestone of 3 Billion Total Users Across its Platforms

Facebook Closes in on New Milestone of 3 Billion Total Users Across its Platforms

Amid the uncertain impacts of COVID-19, Facebook has published its latest earnings report, showing double-digit increases users and revenue – though it has warned of a more significant slowdown on the horizon. First off, on users – Facebook added 105 million users in Q1, taking it to 2.60 billion MAU, a 10% increase YoY. Daily actives jumped 77 million in the quarter, the biggest increase since 2011, which come largely as a result of increased usage amid the COVID-19 lockdowns. And while those results are impressive, Facebook has sought to temper expectation around such moving forward: “Our community metrics, including Facebook DAUs and MAUs and Family MAP and DAP, reflect […]

Facebook Releases Details of its New, Human-Like, Conversational Chatbot Process

Facebook Releases Details of its New, Human-Like, Conversational Chatbot Process

Facebook says that it’s latest conversational chatbot system is able to hold human-like conversation – and it’s specifically better at doing so that Google’s Meena chatbot process, which the search giant recently praised as an example of how far its processes have evolved. In an unusually pointed research report, Facebook’s team has outlined its new ‘Blender’ chatbot framework, which “outperforms others in terms of engagement and also feels more human, according to human evaluators”. You can see the Blender artificially generated responses in blue above – the system is able to better understand context, and even subtlety, in order to maintain a discussion with a human user. To improve the conversational capacity […]

Twitter Provides Access to COVID-19 Related Tweet Dataset to Assist Researchers

Twitter Provides Access to COVID-19 Related Tweet Dataset to Assist Researchers

Twitter will provide selected academic teams with full access to the public tweet conversation about COVID-19 as part of a new dataset designed to help in the research of the virus and its spread. Specifically, Twitter is releasing a new endpoint into Twitter Developer Labs which will enable developers and researchers to study the public conversation about COVID-19 in real-time. As per Twitter: “This is a unique dataset that covers many tens of millions of Tweets daily and offers insight into the evolving global public conversation surrounding an unprecedented crisis. Making this access available for free is one of the most unique and valuable things Twitter can do as the world […]

Facebook is the Leading Social Platform for News During COVID-19 [Infographic]

Facebook is the Leading Social Platform for News During COVID-19 [Infographic]

Where are you getting your news updates from during the COVID-19 pandemic? Increasingly, people are relying on social media platforms to help keep them informed on the latest – which can be both beneficial and problematic in equal measure. Social media usage has ramped up significantly during the lockdowns, with Facebook reporting “unprecedented increase in the consumption of news articles” specifically. Overall US traffic from Facebook to other websites has also risen by more than 50%, as people seek updates and insights. Given that people are spending more time on social anyway, and it’s updated in real-time, there’s clear benefit to getting news via social apps. But then again… Social […]

LinkedIn’s Testing New Link Preview Presentation Options

LinkedIn’s Testing New Link Preview Presentation Options

LinkedIn is experimenting with some new link preview presentation formats, which could have implications for the visuals that you use when posting to the platform. There are a couple of variations in testing – Twitter user Ryan Own Gibson shared this example (via social media expert Matt Navarra), which uses adaptive coloring in the background of the header title pane, based on the dominant color in the preview image. That’s similar to what Facebook tried out back in 2017, though it abandoned the idea not long after it was spotted in the wild. Interestingly, Facebook’s now working on adaptive color background for profiles, so it seems to see some value in […]

WhatsApp Officially Launches New, 8-Person Group Video Chat Option

WhatsApp Officially Launches New, 8-Person Group Video Chat Option

After it was previewed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg late last week, WhatsApp has now officially announced the launch of its new, 8-person, encrypted video chat option, which doubles the capacity of WhatsApp group video calls. As explained by WhatsApp: “The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many of us are isolated from friends and family, and as a result, we’ve seen that people are turning to voice and video calling on WhatsApp more than ever before. Group calling has been particularly useful and our users have asked to connect with more people at once. Starting today, we’re doubling the number of participants you can have on a WhatsApp video or voice call […]

Pinterest Joins ‘Stand for Small’ Coalition to Assist SMBs, Provides New Resource Hub

Pinterest Joins ‘Stand for Small’ Coalition to Assist SMBs, Provides New Resource Hub

With Pinterest searches for “support small business” increasing by over 350% during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and small businesses playing a key role in the broader Pinterest eco-sphere, the platform is looking to provide more assistance for SMBs impacted by the pandemic. This week, Pinterest has announced that it’s joining the ‘Stand for Small’ collective, while it’s also put together a new collection of resources to help businesses optimize their Pin presence. As explained by Pinterest: “Small businesses today are among the hardest hit by the effects of COVID-19, as they have less of a cushion to withstand such a dramatic slowdown. That’s why we’re proud to join the #StandForSmall coalition along […]