Topic: Features

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    Snapchat Launches Pre-ARKit Bitmoji-Based AR Feature in its Apps (Sep 14, 2017)

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    Facebook has Sprawling, Unfocused Plans for Marketplace (Aug 18, 2017)

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    Twitter Finally Adds Curation by Topic, But It’s Flawed (Aug 16, 2017)

    Twitter has finally added curation by topic, but only as part of its Explore tab, and the implementation seems to be pretty flawed. I argued that Twitter needed to get beyond its account-centric model to enable further growth in a piece written a year ago this week, so I welcome the move in principle. But the topic-based feeds are buried behind the search button, and the actual content in the various feeds feels unfocused and often irrelevant. More to the point, this topic-based approach needs to be part of the on boarding experience for Twitter, which has remained far too account-centric and therefore overwhelming for new users, something I documented here a few months back. So this is a step in the right direction, but needs to go further.

    via BuzzFeed

    Facebook Launches Redesigns of News Feed and Instagram Comments (Aug 15, 2017)

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    Snapchat Adds Feature Creating Seamless Multi-Perspective Videos From User Snaps (Aug 14, 2017)

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    Google is Developing Snapchat Discover-Like Formats with Publishers (Aug 4, 2017)

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    iPhone Design and Feature Details Show Up in HomePod Firmware (Jul 31, 2017)

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    Instagram Beefs Up Direct Messaging Feature with Photo and Video Replies (Jul 6, 2017)

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    Snapchat Adds New Backdrop and Voice Filter Features and External Linking (Jul 5, 2017)

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    Facebook Rolls out Find Wi-Fi Feature Leveraging Local Business Pages (Jun 30, 2017)

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    Snapchat Places Custom Geofilters Tool Directly in App for Ordinary Users (Jun 28, 2017)

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    Instagram is Testing Favorites, for Sharing with a Subset of Friends (Jun 23, 2017)

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    Instagram Stories User Numbers Once Again Compared Disingenuously with Snapchat (Jun 20, 2017)

    Today’s Instagram announcement is ostensibly about the launch of live video replays, a new feature that allows users to save their live videos for 24 hours as an Instagram Story. However, the part most outlets I’ve seen have focused on is the announcement of 250 million daily active users for Instagram Stories as a whole, which is naturally being compared once again with Snapchat’s overall user numbers. That’s always a bit disingenuous because comparing a single feature in an app with 700 monthly active users with daily active user numbers for a standalone app isn’t a like for like comparison – some large number of people who regularly use Instagram as an app might occasionally dip into Stories without ever posting one, while the average Snapchat daily active user spend sover 30 minutes in the app every day, suggesting a very different level of engagement. But this is the inevitable comparison, not just because the Stories feature was copied from Snapchat but also because its launch seems to have come at just the time Snapchat user growth slowed. The reality is that Facebook’s reach is now such across its many apps that it can easily launch new features and services and have them reach this kind of scale, and in the process eat into the time spent in other apps, but I don’t think anyone at Facebook would suggest that Instagram Stories by themselves generate nearly the engagement of Snapchat as an app, and even Instagram as an app likely only generates the same engagement and time spent as Snapchat among a minority of users. But that doesn’t mean Instagram Stories isn’t a huge hit for Instagram and a great way to neutralize the ongoing threat presented by Snapchat as a competitor, especially among the demographics where it hasn’t yet gained wide adoption.

    via TechCrunch

    Amazon Adds Reminders and Named Timers to Alexa (Jun 2, 2017)

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    Skype Gets a Big Makeover Focused on Messaging and Social Sharing (Jun 1, 2017)

    Skype is one of those odd products – a fairly sizable communications property owned by a major tech company, and yet one which doesn’t make much money, isn’t growing much, and hasn’t really been focused on either messaging or social communication. It’s been clear, though, for some time that Microsoft would very much like Skype to be a big part of its consumer push and become more of a messaging- centric app, and the makeover it announced today seems like a big step in that direction. The new design, rolling out first on Android and later on other platforms, puts social sharing and messaging much more prominently in the app, but that’s no guarantee that people will actually use those features more or even see Skype as a natural place to do that kind of sharing. I only ever use Skype for work phone calls at this point, and others I’ve spoken to who use its messaging features use those almost exclusively for work communication too, so I’d be very curious to hear more from Microsoft about who is using messaging on Skype and what they’re using it for. My guess is that, for all the changes Microsoft is making here, it won’t be that much more successful than in the past in making Skype a mainstream consumer service or app for social communication and messaging. It doesn’t have the brand or the user base to make that objective work. It’s also adding in more bots, an effort that began with a bang at Build last year but has been quiet since, but again those will only be relevant inasmuch as people are spending a lot of time in Skype already and want and expect to find those interactions with brands and companies there. In the end, I don’t see anything here that makes me think Skype is going to become a radically different animal, even if it might look quite different after these changes. And that’s emblematic of Microsoft’s broader consumer challenges: it simply doesn’t have a broad-based consumer play at this point beyond productivity.

    via TechCrunch

    Instagram Adds Crowdsourced Geographic and Topic-Based Stories (May 23, 2017)

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    Snapchat Introduces More Flexible Stories Feature (May 23, 2017)

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    Instagram Launches Selfie Filters (May 16, 2017)

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    Snapchat Adds Several New Features the Day Before its First Earnings Call (May 9, 2017)

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    Facebook Rolls Out Instant Games and Other Features from F8 on Messenger (May 2, 2017)

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