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Google search results update, LinkedIn’s ad tab, Instagram data breach, digital ad complaint increase and Pinterest does Pride Month

This week has seen a few interesting announcements, including the fact that Google is updating how its search results look, impacting the way paid results are showcased.

LinkedIn has announced that it is aiming to improve transparency with a new ad tab for company pages while Facebook is investigating a possible Instagram data breach.

Finally, Pinterest has revealed some interesting data around Pride Month, as well as some new features to help celebrate it.

Find out more about these stories with our latest news roundup.

Google updates mobile search results

According to Google, the new search results design will ensure it can “add more action buttons and helpful previews to search results cards” down the line. The changes it is making are also helping Google to add more options for branding and personalization so brands can create a search experience that best suits them.

LinkedIn said that the decision was made because it is “committed to providing a safe, trusted and professional environment where members can connect with each other, engage with relevant content and grow their careers.” In order to better achieve this, it is aiming to increase transparency for customers and members.

While Facebook introduced more tools for increasing ad transparency following evidence of political manipulation surfacing, it does not immediately seem like LinkedIn would have similar issues. However, the platform had to ban a number of accounts in August 2023 that had been set up to network with members of political groups in the US.

Although the platform doesn’t necessarily seem to be such a target as Facebook and Twitter, it has seen large increases in engagement and new members, meaning that it could well be used for political purposes. LinkedIn’s bid to improve transparency will help to curb this.

Facebook investigating Instagram influencer details breach

Facebook is investigating the leak that led to the details of almost 50m Instagram users being leaked. Details were leaked from the database of the India-based influencer marketing tool, Chtrbox.

TechCrunch found that Facebook is looking into the mishandling of data by Chtrbox, including individuals phone numbers and email addresses. Those affected include a number of high-profile social media influencers. The data of some users was also supplemented with location information, with the affected database being hosted on an Amazon server that did not have password protection setup.

Shortly after TechCrunch contacted Chtrbox about the data, the database was pulled offline. The publication also contacted several people at random whose information was on the database to be told by a few of them that the information on the database is what they used to set up their Instagram accounts, but they did not have any involvement with Chtrbox.

Facebook said in a statement: “We’re looking into the issue to understand if the data described – including email and phone numbers – was from Instagram or from other sources. We’re also inquiring with Chtrbox to understand where this data came from and how it became publicly available.”

Digital ad complaints outpace TV complaints

The rise in digital ad complaints suggests that since GDPR came into effect, a lot more people are aware of regulations.

Pinterest announces new Pride Month features and stats

As Pride Month approaches, many brands are looking to join in with the celebration, including Pinterest. This week, Pinterest announced a new feature especially for Pride Month in order to make it easier for those turning to the platform for ideas relating to the celebration.

“With Pride Month kicking off soon”, said Pinterest, “people are turning to Pinterest for inspiration to celebrate their identity, discover the best Pride parade looks and find products to express themselves at celebrations around the world.”

The move comes after Pinterest data reveals that Pride Month as a search grows more popular each year. According to the platform’s data, related searches rose by 2,930% from June 2023 to June 2023.

According to Pinterest, popular searches from platform users in the run-up to Pride include ‘pride outfit’, ‘pride makeup’, ‘gay pride’, ‘pride quotes’ and ‘bi pride’. The platform also noted that a number of other key searches have started to see increased search during Pride Month:

Rainbow ear tattoo +680%

Bisexual Pride makeup +108%

Pride stickers +182%

Pride costume =85%

Pride shoes +116%

Rainbow box braids +77%

Rainbow marble nails +194%

As well as insights into the usage of Pinterest during Pride Month, the platform also announced that a rainbow text filter will be automatically applied to any Pride-related searches throughout the month of June.

It will also be creating curated Pride collections to showcase some of the most popular pins and related searches at the top of search results.

This is the second year in a row that Pinterest has added a rainbow filter to celebrate Pride and while it is a colourful way to promote inclusivity, it does bring into question whether Pinterest does anything more to support the LGBTQ+ community throughout the rest of the year.

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News Roundup 4Th October 2023

Google’s new data control features, Instagram launches ‘Restrict’, fewer women in executive marketing roles, Burger King under fire for tweet and Twitter testing ‘Stream Tweets’

This week has seen Google announce a slew of new features designed for helping users better manage their privacy and data, all of which are now being rolled out.

Burger King has come under fire by the ASA for a tweet that was deemed to be irresponsible and condoning anti-social behaviour.

Twitter is reportedly testing a new feature to show tweets in real-time in users’ feeds.

We’ve got more info on all of these news stories below in this week’s roundup.

Google launches new data control features

Google has announced a new set of data control and security options aimed at helping users have more control when managing their data. According to Google, “managing your data should be just as easy as making a restaurant reservation, or using Maps to find the fastest way back home.”

To help with this, Google has added four new controls that will allow people to better manage their digital presence.

Incognito Maps

The first of these controls is incognito mode being added to maps, following on from it being added to YouTube earlier in the year.

Users will be able to activate incognito mode in the Maps app so their activity, such as the places they are searching for, won’t be saved to their Google Account. This means it won’t show in their app history or be used for personalization purposes.

Incognito mode can be selected from the menu when a user taps their profile picture. It can be turned on and off easily, allowing users to return to their personalized Maps experience. Android users will be able to start using incognito mode on Maps later this month, while it will be rolled out for iOS in the coming months.

YouTube auto-delete

Google is also rolling out auto-delete to YouTube, allowing users to delete their activity on YouTube. Users can choose the time period for the app to keep their data – three months, 18 months or until it is deleted – and Google will take care of the rest.

Google Assistant

Updates to Google Assistant have also been made, allowing it to easily understand and manage data. For example, users can ask Assistant “Hey Google, how do you keep my data safe?” and Assistant will provide information on how data is kept secure.

People will also be able to control their data with simple voice commands within the next few weeks, meaning they can ask for Assistant to delete things that were said to it. These features will be automatically added to Assistant so users don’t need to do anything to activate them.

Password security

Finally, Google is helping users strengthen their password protection with updates to its password manager. While password manager automatically protects passwords across different accounts, it is being made more powerful with the introduction of Password Checkup.

The new feature will tell users whether any of their passwords are weak or if they have been used across multiple sites, helping to promote better password habits. It will also inform users if their password has been compromised, such as in a third-party data breach.

Instagram launches Restrict feature

This new feature is a great option for individuals who are having issues with other users but don’t want to deal with the repercussions of blocking them outright, helping to reduce friction and conflict.

The number of women in executive marketing roles is declining

There has been a drop in the number of women working in marketing executive positions, according to the latest Diversity Best Practice (DBP) Inclusion Index and the #inclusion100 benchmark.

Looking at the results by race paints shows that there has been an increase in the number of Asian women being hired into executive roles, with a 2% increase compared to last year. The representation of black women in these positions has remained steady at 1%.

However, both white women and Latinx women saw a decline in executive representation, with figures now standing at 24% and 0.3%, respectively.

While it is a shame that the results have not been more positive this year, they do highlight where work needs to be done and can be used to call on companies to hire more women into executive marketing roles.

Burger King milkshake tweet deemed ‘irresponsible’ for condoning anti-social behaviour

Following the incidents, one of which saw European MP Nigel Farage covered in milkshake, a number of establishments stopped selling milkshakes when election candidates were due to appear in certain locations. This included a McDonald’s in Edinburgh announcing that it would stop selling the drinks while Nigel Farage was at a rally in the city.

In response to this news, Burger King tweeted that it would still be selling milkshakes in Scotland, saying: “Dear people of Scotland. We’re selling milkshakes all weekend. Have fun. Love BK. #justsaying”. Burger King attempted to justify the tweet in a follow-up post, which said: “We’d never endorse violence – or wasting our delicious milkshakes! So enjoy the weekend and please drink responsibly people.”

The fast-food company defended the tweet saying that it was a “tongue-in-cheek reaction to recent events”. However, the ASA did not accept this response and was critical of the tweet, suggesting that it both encouraged and condones the anti-social behaviour. According to the ASA, 24 people complained that the tweet was offensive and encouraged violence.

“We considered the ad, therefore, condoned the previous anti-social behaviour and encouraged further instances. We, therefore, concluded that the ad was irresponsible.”

Twitter testing new ‘stream tweets’ feature

This means that users can go back to life before the introduction of Twitter’s algorithm-defined feed. It could also enable users to see tweets sooner, leading to more timely reactions and conversations on the platform.

News Roundup 15Th February 2023

Twitter has made some small tweaks to its platform, The CAP has announced new gambling ad rules, Google showcases plans for US location expansion and Instagram investigates bug that caused follower counts to fall

There are no big platform changes to unpick this week, although Twitter has announced three tiny changes to its platform, one to create clarity, another to make it easier to view profiles and the third is especially for Valentine’s Day.

Google has announced its latest $13 billion expansion plans that will see it set up locations in a range of new states, helping to create thousands of construction jobs.

Finally, Instagram is looking into a reported bug that saw many users experience a drop in followers, with some of its most popular accounts seeing their figure fall by millions.

Find out more about each of these stories in this week’s news roundup.

As part of the refreshed design for Twitter, we’re replacing the Explore tab’s magnifying glass ? with the hashtag #⃣. Using the same icon for Search and Explore was confusing, so this makes it clearer!

— ashlie ford (@ashlie) February 13, 2023

Twitter makes some tweaks

This week has seen Twitter roll out some minor updates, although sadly one of those wasn’t the ability to edit tweets and remove accidental typos. The small changes don’t really affect the functionality of the social media platform, but they’re worth noting as Twitter is obviously experimenting with different elements.

An icon change

To start with, the explore icon has been updated and is now a hashtag rather than a magnifying glass. According to Ashlie Ford, a designer at Twitter, the decision to replace the icon was because it was also used for search, making things a bit confusing for users.

iOS user preview

Another update is only being made available to iOS users at the moment but will make looking at someone’s profile from your timeline much easier. Rather than needing to leave your timeline (and risk losing the tweet you were looking at when it refreshes), iOS Twitter users can now tap a tagged user handle to open a preview pop-over window.

Ultimately, this will cause less disruption to your experience when browsing Twitter and could help lead to users making more connections on the platform. It isn’t clear whether Twitter will eventually be rolling out this function to Android users.

Valentine’s Day

The final update was small and only related to Valentine’s Day, so the fun is already over for another year. Rather than a heart appearing when people used #valentines on Twitter, a red rose icon appeared instead for February 14th.

More substantial updates?

While these changes might change a small aspect of the Twitter experience, it seems that Twitter could be spending its time more wisely. Other functions like saving searches and only searching your profile/timeline have been asked for by people but are yet to make an appearance.

On top of this, calls are still being made for Twitter to step up and police its users better, as issues with abusive content and profiles are still arising.

New gambling ad rules seek to protect children

Google announces huge US expansion

Google is planning on expanding into several new US states, investing more than $13 billion into its latest expansion. The company will be building new offices and data centres across the US, including in Nebraska, Oklahoma and Nevada, helping to create more than 10,000 construction jobs.

This latest move marks a large investment in expanding Google’s US footprint, especially when compared to 2023’s facility expansion investment, which totalled $9 billion. It will also mean that Google has facilities in 24 states, according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. He said that “2023 marks the second year in a row we’ll be growing faster outside of the Bay Area than in it.”

This latest move is an attempt by Google to create jobs that feel accessible to local communities. Positions in Middle America will primarily be data centres, but the majority of the company’s sales, engineering and marketing jobs will still primarily be located in the Bay Area, LA, New York and Massachusetts.

It hasn’t been announced how many jobs will be available in the new data centres or when the locations are expected to open.

We’re aware of an issue that is causing a change in account follower numbers for some people right now. We’re working to resolve this as quickly as possible.

— Instagram (@instagram) February 13, 2023

Instagram bug sees millions of followers vanish

Instagram is investigating an issue that has caused a number of accounts to lose large numbers of followers. Some of the platform’s most popular accounts found that their follower counts decreased dramatically on February 13th, with some celebrities like Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez losing millions of Instagram followers.

Fast Company suggested that the losses were due to Instagram’s continued efforts to remove “inauthentic” accounts, but Instagram’s tweet about the issue seems to signal that this isn’t the case.

Instagram said that it expected the issue to be fixed by 9amPST on February 14th, but it hasn’t issued an update to say whether the bug has indeed been repaired.

News Roundup 14Th June 2023

Google changes search results, Instagram has fastest growing brand value, video is most engaging in-app ad format, Facebook meeting with anti-censorship groups, YouTube cracks down on white supremacist content, TikTok testing new ad targeting tools

One of the biggest updates recently – besides Google’s algorithm update – is the news that the search engine will be changing how search results are displayed, which could drastically affect traffic numbers.

Other stories have seen Instagram be announced at the fastest growing brand in terms of value, topping Amazon.

Facebook has faced more protests about its censorship of female nipples but the platform has now agreed to meet anti-censorship groups to discuss the issue.

YouTube has followed in Facebook’s steps to take a harsher stance on white supremacist and Holocaust denier content.

Take a look at our news roundup to find out more about each of these stories.

Google reducing search results from the same domain

Google has announced that it has updated its search results in a bid to show more diverse range of content. While previously, results from the same source could show in the top results for a search phrase, Google will now limit results so no more than two from the same domain will be shown.

This decision follows apparent feedback over a number of years that too many of the top results for some queries can come from the same domain, limiting choice for searchers. However, Google is reserving the right to show more than two results from the same source if it believes that it is appropriate to do so in order to provide searchers with high-quality results.

When it comes to sub-domains, Google is going to be counting these as belonging to the main domain. This means they will still be subject to the no-more-than-two-results rule. However, sub-domains could also be treated differently when Google deems it suitable to show more results.

Google’s change is only set to impact core results, which means domains could have more results shown in additional search features, such as image carousels or top stories.

So, what will the results of this change be? Sites who previously benefited from numerous results showing in top results for certain queries could now see a drop in organic traffic, as well as rankings.

It could, therefore, be beneficial to take a look at your keyword strategy and see how you can target long-tail keywords for different pages that cover the same topic. Not only could this mean you rank higher for a greater variety of keywords, but this also mirrors the change in search behaviour that is only going to become more prominent.

Instagram is the fastest growing brand in terms of value

Brandz ranking of the top 100 brands by Kantar has revealed that Instagram is the fastest climber of all other brands, showing the value and impact it now has. This year saw the Facebook-owned social media platform rise up the rankings by a massive 47 places, with a 95% increase in brand value meaning it has been taken to $2.82 billion.

While Amazon is the leading brand and currently sits in the top spot of the ranking, Instagram has grown at a much faster pace. In comparison to the social media platform’s 95% growth, Amazon has only increased its value by 52%.

Other brands that have seen in a surge in value include Lululemon (77%), Netflix (65%), Salesforce (58%) and Adobe (57%). LinkedIn also saw a fairly strong performance with its brand value increasing by a very reasonable (46%).

Graham Staplehurst, Brandz’s global strategy director, said: “Some [brands] are still establishing themselves, growing by reaching previously unexposed audiences, such as Instagram. Some are reminding consumers of what they stand for like Chipote, or refreshing their positions and perceptions like YSL.

“Other are extending and innovating into new sectors, as we are seeing with Uber expanding into home food delivery with Uber Eats and even underwater ride hailing ScUber on the Great Barrier Reef.”

Video is the most engaging type of in-app ad

Other findings from the research include:

Facebook agrees to anti-censorship meeting

Facebook has agreed to a meeting with anti-censorship groups over its community standards restrictions of “some images of female breasts that include the nipple”. This follows on from a protest organized by the National Coalition Against Censorships (NCAC) and Spencer Tunick, an American artist, outside Facebook’s New York headquarters as part of the #WeTheNipple campaign.

The protest was organized to highlight how Facebook’s community standards can be damaging to artists who share content on its platforms. Some 125 demonstrators lay naked in front of the headquarters using images of male nipples to cover themselves.

While the community standards state that Facebook allows some images of female breasts that include the nipple, “including those depicting acts of protest, women actively engaged in breastfeeding, and photos of post-mastectomy scarring”, there is no exception for artists except in terms of painting and sculptures. Photographers who publish images that show female nipples often have their photos deleted or their accounts removed.

In addition to this, the community standards do not mention male nipples and so there is no similar ban on images of male nipples, a fact that has been heavily criticized.

Facebook will now be meeting with the NCAC and “other stakeholders” to learn more about the concerns various groups have about censorship. However, the social media platform said that agreeing to the meeting is not a commitment to update its community standards.

YouTube cracking down on white supremacist content

YouTube is adopting a harder attitude when it comes to white supremacists and Holocaust denier content shared on the platform. The video-sharing platform will be broadening its definition of inappropriate content, which could see hundreds of thousands of videos being removed.

Videos that now feature people attempting to deny events like the holocaust or the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which are irrefutable, will now be deemed as inappropriate, as will any videos that promote white supremacists.

In a blog post, YouTube explained its “ongoing work to tackle to hate”. According to the platform, it is working on four pillars: “removing violative content, raising up authoritative content, reducing the spread or borderline content and regarding trusted creators.”

As part of this, the platform will now ban “videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.”

The update to its guidelines means that YouTube is taking steps that are similar to Facebook, which has also banned supremacist content following the terrorist attack on a mosque in New Zealand, which was live streamed on the platform.

TikTok to release new ad targeting tools

TikTok is apparently able to use user engagement and video image recognition to categorize its audience’s interests. However, it is also working on other more specific data options to allow for better categorization and targeting.

The fast growth of TikTok means that brands are keen to make the most of the opportunities the platform suggests but it is not yet clear whether it has the staying power or opportunities presented by bigger players in the social media sphere.

News Roundup 23Rd August 2023

Facebook rolling out ‘Clear History’ tool, Twitter blocks Chinese state-backed accounts, YouTube removing chat function, New LinkedIn Live guide, Twitter’s new video ad bid and Facebook’s new movie ad tools

Twitter has announced that it has blocked a number of accounts that were found to be backed by the Chinese state in the wake of growing tensions between protestors and police in Hong Kong, with Facebook following suit.

LinkedIn has released a new guide on how individuals and organizations can get the most out of its live-streaming function, despite this feature not being globally available just yet.

Twitter is looking to make the most of video engagement on the platform with new video ad options while Facebook has launched new ad tools for movies, to encourage booking without needing to leave the platform.

Get more details on all of these stories with our news roundup:

Facebook’s new ‘Clear History’ tool being rolled out

Facebook has announced that it is starting to roll out its ‘clear history’ tool that will allow users to see what apps and websites send information to Facebook when they are used. The tool will enable users to remove the information from their accounts and stop Facebook from being able to store the information in the future, allowing greater control over personal data.

In a blog post, Facebook said: “Today [August 21st], we’re introducing a new way to view and control your off-Facebook activity. Off-Facebook Activity lets you see a summary of the apps and websites that send us information about your activity, and clear this information from your account if you want to. This is another way to give people more transparency and control on Facebook, along with recent updates to our Ad Library, updates to “Why am I seeing this ad?” and the launch of a new feature called “Why am I seeing this post?.”

While calls for better transparency over Facebook’s data storage and use have been continuous, the platform has experienced a number of issues that have meant the delivery of this solution has been delayed by over a year.

On Facebook’s Engineering Blog, it explained some of these issues: “Building Off-Facebook Activity required an extensive redesign of the way our systems store and process this activity and new methods for disconnecting information about a person’s off-site activity from their account. Since we do not store off-site activity in one centralized profile, we also had to bring together a variety of data sources and develop new methods for managing different types of information across our infrastructure.”

Twitter and Facebook remove Chinese state-backed accounts in wake of protests

Although Chinese state media outlets will still be able to post on their Twitter accounts to organically reach audiences, they will no longer be able to use the platform’s ad services. Outlets have 30 days to offboard from the platform’s ad products, with Twitter not accepting any new campaigns.

Twitter has also suspended 936 accounts run by the Chinese government, explaining in a blog post that “these accounts were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground.”

According to Twitter, its investigations provided “reliable evidence” that showed that the accounts were engaged in a “coordinated state-backed operation” that saw these accounts amplifying tweets related to the protests in Hong Kong.

Twitter is currently blocked in China, so it seems as though these suspended accounts were using VPN services to use the platform.

In addition to Twitter’s action, Facebook said that it has also removed a network of groups, pages and accounts that had originated from China and were involved in similar actions on its platform. This apparently happened after Facebook received a tip from Twitter that the accounts, groups and pages were involved in “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” that focused on events in Hong Kong.

Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook, said in a blog post: “ Today [August 19th], we removed seven Pages, three Groups and five Facebook accounts involved in coordinated inauthentic behaviour as part of a small network that originated in China and focused on Hong Kong.

“The individuals behind this campaign engaged in a number of deceptive tactics, including the use of fake accounts – some of which had already disabled by our automated systems – to manage Pages posing as news organizations, posts in Groups, disseminate their content, and also drive people to off-platform news sites.’

Citizens of Hong Kong have been protesting an extradition bill that would allow local authorities to detain and extradite individuals who are wanted in territories without extradition agreements with Hong Kong, such as Taiwan and mainland China. Although the extradition bill was suspended on June 15th by the country’s chief executive, and then declared “dead” on July 9th, it has not been announced that the bill is to be fully withdrawn.

This has led to a number of violent protests and police clashes as citizens seek to express how unhappy they are with China’s governance of Hong Kong.

YouTube removing chat function next month

While users will still be able to share content using the ‘Share’ option, the chat system will no longer exist from September 18th.

LinkedIn’s new guide on live-streaming

LinkedIn Live isn’t yet available to everyone but to help people make the most of it when it is fully rolled out, the social media platform has released a new 13-page guide full of actionable tips.

The platform made its live-streaming option to available to select users in the US in February and is due to start rolling it out to more users and countries in the future. Ahead of this, the guide has been released in a bid to ensure users, whether individual or organizations, make the best use of LinkedIn Live.

The guide includes some interesting information on the live-streaming function, including the fact that a third-party video platform is required to use the option. Ultimately, this means that users need to use a dedicated video tool to create live videos, which will lead to more professional streams.

This professional form of live streaming is further highlighted by the fact that LinkedIn’s guide also includes information on how to demonstrate the ROI and value of live streaming. The guide provides information on goal-setting, testing and creating KPIs, which is likely to appeal to a large proportion of LinkedIn members.

Twitter launches new video ad bid type

This latest bid type continues on from the improvements it has been making to the platform, including its redesign that launched in July.

Facebook launches new movie ad tools

News Roundup January 4Th 2023

High user volume caused Alexa to crash on Christmas Day, Google is testing new search with importance placed on streaming, Instagram launches new features for Stories and Facebook is testing ‘dark mode’ for its Messenger app

We may have switched off for the holidays and New Year, but it’s now time to take a look at what news stories in the marketing, tech and social media worlds were missed over the last couple of weeks.

First up is the news that Amazon’s smart speaker was such a popular item this festive season that Alexa crashed on Christmas Day across many parts of Europe. It just goes to show that the idea of a smart home is becoming increasingly appealing for many.

It also looks like Google is just about ready to admit the importance of streaming services, as it seems to be testing a new design for search that puts streaming higher up in the results.

Take a look at these stories in more depth and find out what else you may have missed over the last few months below.

Amazon’s Alexa crashes on Christmas Day

It seems that one of the most popular gifts this Christmas was Amazon’s Echo smart speaker, with the number of new devices being connected causing the voice-controlled assistant Alexa to crash across Europe.

The large number of people attempting to plug in their new smart speakers led to Amazon’s servers getting overloaded. This resulted in many users only getting the response “Sorry, I’m having trouble understanding you right now” to their questions and commands.

Following an influx of complaints to Amazon and across social media, the online retail giant tweeted that the issue with intermittent connections across Europe had been resolved two hours later.

A spokesperson for Amazon said: “For a short period on 25th December, we had an issue that intermittently impacted some Alexa customers’ ability to interact with the service. The Alexa service is now operating normally.”

As well as showing that companies offering voice assistants like Alexa need to prepare for an influx of users on key days, it also shows the growing popularity of voice search. This means that brands need to look at how to optimize their sites for voice search in order to ensure users get the best results.

— Valentin Pletzer (@VorticonCmdr) January 2, 2023

Google highlights the importance of streaming with new search design

The rise of streaming services has become a really big business, something that is now being reflected by Google’s search design. Screenshots of the search engine’s latest mobile design have shown that there is set to be a clearer focus on streaming providers when searching for relevant topics.

Google’s changes have yet to be rolled out to all users, but preliminary reports suggest that several versions of the design are being tested. However, all designs appear to feature the latest addition of an “available to stream” option.

This implies that when users search for phrases related to shows or movies, Google will display options that are available for streaming, linking through to the show or film on streaming providers.

Users will also be able to make use of additional filters in order to improve the results they receive – such as by filtering for the streaming service they have access to. Users can also manually add their preferred providers to their search settings, which is likely to feedback to the main results.

— Valentin Pletzer (@VorticonCmdr) January 2, 2023

However, the focus on streaming now suggests that a large number of people using this type of service has altered how Google approaches search, resulting in results that are less intent on a purchase.

As the design is still in the testing phase, there’s no guarantee that the screenshots will mirror the final design. The fact that these types of search options are being explored by the search engine, though, suggests that more importance will be placed on streaming in results going forward.

Instagram launches new Stories features

Instagram has announced new additions to its Stories features, allowing users to interact with friends and followers in different ways. The app has launched three new features within Stories, which are now available to all users.

Music recommendations

To start with, users are now able to ask for music recommendations through a question sticker on their story. People who view their story are able to respond to the sticker with a song from the available music library.

The recommendations are viewable when the viewer’s list is opened. Alongside this will also be a button that you can tap to play the song. On top of this, users will be able to capture a photo or video to share on their Story as the recommended song plays.

New effects have also been added to the camera, which react to the beats and sounds of the music. These can be used by swiping to “Music” in the camera, which will display the new icons above the camera capture button.

This feature will be available in areas where Instagram’s music library is available.

Questions via Instagram Live

Users are now able to use the question sticker in Live, allowing them to interact with their viewers or with people they are watching. However, you can only ask a question of someone via Stories if they have used the question sticker.

Users who post a questions sticker can choose which one they want to answer in a Live video. This will mean a Q&A will be added to the Stories tray of those who asked questions, allowing them to join the live video and see if their question is being answered.

People are also able to ask more questions while someone is live by going back to the original story and typing another question in response to their sticker. This question will then be added to their list, ready for them to answer in Live.

Countdowns in Stories

The final new addition to Stories is a countdown sticker, which allows users to countdown to moments. Just as with other stickers, the countdown can be added to a photo or video. You are then able to customize the colour and the end time and date.

You’re able to reuse the sticker until the countdown ends, using your Stories to create a timeline and build excitement – something that could come in handy if you are launching a new product or making an announcement.

Viewers can then tap on the countdown to follow it in your stories or add it to their own. Those who complete either of these actions will get a notification when the countdown ends, meaning they will know to go to your Stories if you were planning on sharing something at the end of the countdown.

Facebook Messenger is testing Dark Mode in the new UI

— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) October 5, 2023

Facebook testing ‘dark mode’ for messenger

Facebook is currently experimenting with changes to its Messenger app and seems to be responding to its users’ requests for a dark mode in order to counter the incredibly bright white design of the app.

According to Jane Manchun Wong, an expert in unpacking social media glitches, Facebook has started to test its dark mode for Messenger to cut down on the amount of blue light users are subjected to when using the app.

While the new dark mode isn’t available to all users and is only being tested in certain countries, preliminary results show that those who do have access to the test mode are able to turn it on and off in the “Me” section of the app.

As the mode is still in its testing phase, it is not available across the entire app, which means that users who are able to use it may get a shock when it reaches the limits of its implementation.

Rather than the stark white background of the usual Messenger app, dark mode offers black backgrounds, which are kinder on your eyes. The search bar and other elements of the app are still grey, but they are darker than when in its usual mode.

Although the test is still ongoing and not yet available in all locations, the available screenshots suggest that Facebook may soon be ready to roll it out to more users.

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