Friday Round Up Of The Week’s Headlines – 15th February

The biggest headlines in the world of digital, 9th – 15th February 2019.

Instagram is working on a single login feature for users with multiple accounts

Users operating several accounts on Instagram simultaneously will be pleased to know that the platform is looking into simplifying the login process for this exact purpose. For example, those managing personal and business accounts will be able to login to all separate accounts using a single login, as well as toggle between accounts much more easily. An interesting point raised by some people is that multiple account ownership must be fairly common for Instagram to be developing a new feature based on this, which begs the question, how many of its monthly billion active users are unique people?

Instagram might be bringing direct messenger to desktop

Instagram also appears to be testing out direct messaging on desktop, which has so far been a feature reserved for the mobile app. This development was flagged up by a user on Twitter and has not yet been announced by Instagram, which suggests that it is still under exploration and won’t be widely available just yet. With that being said, this update is highly likely to be motivated by Facebook’s wider plans to create a unified messaging experience across Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram so it could be being rolled out towards the second half of the year.

Snapchat launches Millennial AR gallery to celebrate Black History Month 

To celebrate Black History Month, Snapchat launched an immersive Snap lens this week that allows users to explore an AR art gallery displaying the creations of black millennial artists. Snapchat users are invited to enter the art gallery from wherever they are by selecting the rainbow coloured lens from the Lens Carousel and switching the camera from selfie mode into standard mode. The AR gallery will be available to users throughout February.

Twitter Releases New Explore and Profile Viewing Features

This week, you may have noticed a couple of new things about Twitter’s interface. Firstly, the magnifying glass, which has long represented both Search and Explore functions on Twitter, has now been replaced by the hashtag symbol in order to remove any confusion between the two. There’s also a new and improved way to look at and follow profiles on iOS – clicking on a handle will no longer divert you away from the news feed but instead bring up a profile preview on the bottom half of the screen. This way you can view and follow a new profile without disrupting your scrolling on the news feed.

Facebook faces criticism for the rise of controversial anti-vaccination private Groups

Whilst Facebook has been heavily encouraging the use of Groups by introducing updated features and new options, it has been accused of facilitating the rise of controversial private Groups, such as those that oppose vaccinations. This is a globally concerning movement, with many citing these Facebook Groups as partially responsible for the re-emergence of long controlled diseases such as measles. Closed Facebook Groups allow likeminded users to share their beliefs with others in a private and enclosed space, away from opposition or challenge. As a platform with over 2.3 billion monthly active users, this kind of feature has the (proven) potential to breed significant sized, controversial movements in protected spaces. This issue has raised the important question of whether Facebook should be doing more to prevent the growth of groups with harmful motives or whether censoring private conversations would be a step too far.

LinkedIn Launches “LinkedIn Live”

After hitting 610 million users last week (it’s highest ever), LinkedIn has announced that it is launching a new live streaming feature that will allow users to broadcast live video content on the platform. With video being the fastest growing and most engaged with content, this development looks to place LinkedIn in direct competition with platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. The kinds of things it could be used for includes, Q&A sessions, conferences, awards ceremonies, new product announcements and more, geared towards its user base of working professionals. At the minute it is still in the beta stage and is only available to some US users.

LinkedIn adds new features to Groups

To deal with an increasing amount of members engaging with LinkedIn Groups, the professional networking platform has begun introducing new features and updates to the Groups functionality. LinkedIn is planning to roll out the following features to Group Admins initially: categorised notifications for Group Posts, notifications for Group Posts started by connections, the ability for Group Admins to highlight relevant discussions and posts, Post review and approval and cover images for Groups. None of these tools are in use just yet, however, LinkedIn has said that they are coming shortly.

LinkedIn Updates Recruitment Tools

In an effort to restructure and simplify its recruitment functionality, LinkedIn has merged its three core tools, Jobs, Recruiter and Pipeline Builder onto a single platform to make it easier to track the progression of projects. In addition to this, LinkedIn is also making use of AI in its candidate sorting tools in order to find the best-suited candidates for roles based on platform and usage data; more options for employees to share any vacancies at their company; an upgraded method of notifying unsuccessful candidates of rejection and a brand new shared messaging system for efficient employer-candidate communication.

Google adds new features to its app analytics tool, Firebase

Google’s app analytics solution, Firebase, is undergoing some changes with regards to its audience builder feature. New app usage Insights have revealed that customers spend the majority of their time on a businesses app, after an initial first visit to their website. The new features include Dynamic audience evaluation, audience exclusion lists and membership duration which all aim to improve audience tracking and targeting.

Google is testing ads in Assistant results

Google appears to be testing out ads in the search results produced by virtual Assistants. With the usage of voice search and virtual assistants on the rise (Juniper Research has predicted this week that by 2023, 8 billion digital voice assistants will be in use), it was only a matter of time before paid advertisements began appearing in the search results. It seems as this feature is very much still in the testing stages as it has only been picked up by one user as of yet, however, it will be interesting to see how Google finds a way to work around the PPC / Voice Search conundrum.

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