With so many updates, it can get hard to track all of the most important news. So before you head off on your last vacation of the summer, apply for Twitter’s first annual Twitter Awards, or catch up on NBCUniversal’s plan to create Snapchat-Exclusive TV shows or Walmart’s acquisition of Jet.com, take a minute and catch up on a few updates you may have missed.
The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to take over our application updates as technology continues to become more user-centric, providing additional capabilities at the ease of a click. Amazon will be making Alexa available in other IoT home products such as Nucleus (smart-intercom system), Triby (portable speaker), Pebble Core (wearable smartwatch) and in products that aren’t even made by Amazon. Similarly, Logitech is introducing a Pop Home Switch that will allow consumers to connect with Smart Home technology and other entertainment devices throughout their homes. AT&T has entered the IoT realm, and is teaming with Biotricity to create a medical band that will connect with phones as part of a new generation of medical wearable devices.
In other app items, Netflix is improving viewer privacy by changing from HTTP to HTTPS, meaning that connections will be more encrypted to help reduce the amount of “eavesdroppers” seeing what you’re watching. Spotify has put a focus on video with the goal of broadening appeal of the app through short-form cartoons that provide insight to various music genres. And last but not least, meet WeChat, China’s largest social application that acts as a mobile portal that allows users to connect online and offline with people, services, and brands, through e-commerce.
From applications to data collection tools, Google continues to stay busy updating various programs to improve user experience and convenience. For those who visualize data, Google’s Data Studio could come in handy when creating tables and charts to display information. While you’re at it, try demoing the new Google Analytics platform using Google’s merchandise store analytics account for a sneak-peek of what’s to come. Be sure to also keep a look out for the new AdWords Interface as Google confirmed that it will release the new interface to more AdWords users. As you analyze data and begin optimizing your website to improve SEO, note that it seems faster page load time results in a higher ranking, and that Google favors low-price products in search results.
With its increased emphasis on micro-moments, Google has introduced updates that help all consumers, both in business- and personal-related moments. Users can now update Google MyBusiness information easier than ever with Google’s new intuitive editing capabilities. Google is also introducing a Wi-Fi-only mode for Google Maps, as well as the ability to save areas offline, to help those with low data utilize all features offered. Google also has released Google Maps Dwell Time and Smarter Filter options so searchers can find the results that are most relevant to their needs. In addition, when users search for the “best” places to eat and drink, Google now provides access to reviews from reputable publishers. However, this comes with criticism as some see it as a way to promote partner content, such as Google’s Zagat, and undermine third-party review sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp.
In terms of micro-moments on Google Drive, Google now provides the opportunity to directly attach any files stored in Drive to emails in your inbox, and Google’s Docs, Sheets, and Slides have been updated for tablet devices to provide users the ability to multitask by means of Split View and Slide Over features.
Social platforms have been closely watching the Snapchat platform’s rapid growth and have begun to add similar features to their own. While Snapchat enhanced Snap personalization by adding Geostickers in addition to Geofilters, Instagram added Stories to their platform as well which are also customizable with a caption and drawing overlay. Facebook is also testing a camera feature in Brazil and Canada that is similar to that of Snapchat’s that allows users to scroll down their feeds, take images, and draw/add images to them.
As video continues to become more popular, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn have put an emphasis on providing seamless experiences through integrated video. Facebook and Instagram have been providing coverage for the Olympics with 360 video and Olympic-specific feeds, and LinkedIn has added videos from LinkedIn influencers to help share thoughts about relevant topics and news. To measure performance, Facebook added new video metrics, of which comes with a newly introduced Heatmap insights tool that will help publishers improve performance of content. In addition, Facebook has turned on a new feature that takes power away from ad-blockers on desktop devices by making ad content identical to non-ad content and serving it all in the same place.
As Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn continue to take the lead on the social scoreboard, Twitter is not far behind and has been releasing updates that help publishers optimize and share content in a more creative way. Namely, Twitter introduced a new Ads Manager that will help provide an easier way to plan, manage and report on campaigns. The platform will also be making Moments available to brands, media, and individuals, meaning that more users can begin to create collections of tweets related to trending topics to help tell stories in new and unique ways.
(These updates provided by Carousel30, a Capitol Communicator sponsor.)