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With the mid-year coming near quite quickly, all the platforms are trying to make most of the digitally rich time. In the lockdown period where people are spending a large chunk of their tie online, platforms are trying to make themselves more user friendly, and that connects them to the outside world seamlessly. From Google showing COVID test center details, Whatsapp launching COVID fact-checker bot, to Instagram enabling the direct upload of the Live Sessions and Twitter launching the new Retweet with comments listing, there were a variety of new features. Let’s take a look at some the best of those.

Table of Contents

1. Google Search Console Adds Copy Feature To URLs

Google has added a small but super-useful feature to Google Search Console, the ability to copy a URL listed in a report quickly. Now we will see three icons when hovering over a URL: copy to clipboard, open in a new tab and inspect URL.

2. Google Testing More How To Schema Rich Results Interfaces

Google was testing a variation of how to schema interfaces; it is much more detailed now with the number of steps listed.

3. Instagram is Adding Some New Font Types for Stories

Instagram is rolling out some new font options for Stories, including new background effects to make your text stand out. 

4. Instagram is Testing a New ‘DM Me’ Sticker to Prompt Messaging Interaction From Stories

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.

5. Instagram Adds Live Donations Feature for Fundraising via Instagram Live

Instagram has launched a new fundraising option within Instagram Live, which will enable users to raise funds during an Instagram Live stream – like a small-scale telethon via the app. To create your own Instagram Live fundraiser, you’ll select the ‘Fundraiser’ option on the left of the screen when you start your Instagram Live broadcast. When you tap through, you’ll then be able to choose a nonprofit to support.

During your stream, you’ll be able to see how many people have pledged support to your chosen cause, along with a real-time listing of the total money raised. You’ll also be able to tap ‘View’ to see a full breakdown of your donors, and you’ll be able to thank them by tapping ‘Wave’ next to their name.

6. LinkedIn is Testing New Link Preview Presentation Options

LinkedIn is 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. It will use adaptive coloring in the background of the header title pane, based on the dominant color in the preview image.

7. Facebook is Testing a ‘Hit Me Up’ Sticker to Prompt Message Interaction from Stories

Facebook is working on a ‘Hit Me Up’ sticker for Facebook Stories, which would enable users to prompt a quick DM response via the sticker. This could help facilitate more intimate engagement and would align with the increasing use of Stories and messaging, particularly during the lockdown.

8. YouTube is Running a New Test That Will Provide More Info on Products Featured in a Video

YouTube is testing out a new ‘Products in this Video’ tool, which will provide more context on the specific products that are featured within a YouTube clip. 

9. Google AdSense Ad Balance Tool Going Away On 20th May

Google announced it is retiring the Ad Balance slider tool from Google AdSense.

Ad Balance controls help reduce the number of ads shown to users, specifically the ads that earn the least revenue, and see how it affects the earnings. This will no longer be available.

10. Google Local Panel Can Show COVID Testing Center Details

Google can now show if a specific location, pharmacy, etc. is a COVID-19 testing center and what requirements there are to be tested. 

11. WhatsApp Launches New COVID-19 Fact-Checker Bot to Help Reduce the Spread of Misinformation

WhatsApp has launched various tools to limit the spread of misleading reports, including new limits on message forwarding and Google search prompts in-stream. And this week, WhatsApp has added another misinformation counter-measure, partnering with Poynter on a new fact-checking bot, which can provide answers on over 4,000 hoaxes within seconds.

12. Instagram is Testing New Ways to Navigate Through Your Stories Feed

Instagram is testing out some new ways to navigate through your Stories feed in the app, in order to help people find more Stories content that they’re interested in.

The new feature would enable users to slide the main Stories frame down to reveal the Stories tray at the top of the screen, then switch through to each.

13. YouTube Adds New options for Marketers Looking to Reach Viewers Watching on Home TV Screens

With people seeking more entertainment options while confined to their houses, YouTube’s TV-connected viewing has gone through the roof. 

To help marketers tap into this, YouTube is adding two new options for TV-connected audiences.

First, YouTube’s fast-tracking the launch of its Brand Lift for YouTube on TV screens option, which will enable advertisers to survey users on their responses to YouTube ads on their TV sets.

YouTube says that it’s also adding skippable ads for content that’s cast onto the TV screen – which is a little unclear, given that you can already skip ads in the content you view on-screen. The option will likely look to cater to more TV control devices and remotes, in order to help more users skip through ads they’re not interested in.

14. Facebook Adds New Setting to Stop Private Groups Being Switched to ‘Public’

Facebook is updating its group settings to stop any Facebook Group, of any size, from changing its settings from ‘private’ to ‘public’, in order to protect group users from unintended exposure. 

15. YouTube Is Working on a New Option to Enable Publishers to Sell Subscriptions via Their Channels

YouTube is reportedly working on a new option which would enable publishers to more directly add paying subscribers to their publications via their YouTube channels, providing another means for the video giant to help support the news industry.

16. Google Launches Podcasts Manager to Help Podcasters Maximize Performance

Google has launched a new tool that will enable podcasters that have their podcasts available via Google Podcasts to glean more insights into their audience behaviors in order to recognize relevant trends and shifts and help maximize podcast performance.

17. Instagram Live Can Be Directly Uploaded To IGTV At The End

Instagram officially announced that all users can now save the video of their Instagram Live broadcast to IGTV, and keep it available for viewing for as long as they choose.

18. Google Search Recommends Suggestions Based On Your Recent Search Activity

Google, for the past month or so, has been giving search suggestions to some logged in searchers. These search suggestions are not based on generic queries but based on that specific user’s recent activity within Google.

19. YouTube’s New Audience Activity Insights Are Now Available to All Creators

YouTube audiences’ online activity is now available to all users. The new chart, available in YouTube Studio analytics, displays when your audience is most active on the platform, which can help in your planning. It’s similar to Facebook’s audience insights, which, as noted, provides more guidance as to when you should be looking to connect with your audience, based on usage trends.

20. Twitter Officially Launches New ‘Retweets with Comments’ Listings on iOS

From now on, your retweet count will include both basic retweets and retweets with comments, and you’ll also be able to identify them in a new listing within the tweet detail.

Twitter has been testing the new listings over the past few weeks, with the update looking to address a commonly noted annoyance with Twitter’s displayed engagement stats. 

21. LinkedIn Launches its Own Polls Option to Facilitate More Engagement

LinkedIn has now officially launched its new native polls option, providing another way to gather feedback and boost engagement on the platform. LinkedIn polls function pretty much the same as they do on other platforms – you select the ‘Create a Poll’ option within the post composer, type in your question, and enter up to four answer options. You then choose the poll’s duration (between 24 hours and up to two weeks), add a note to your post, then publish.

22. Google Adds New Option to Group and Color-Code Tabs in Chrome

Google has outlined its new option to group tabs in Chrome, with color-coding on each group to make it easier to keep tabs on. Now, with a simple right-click, you can group your tabs and label them with a custom name and color. Once the tabs are grouped together, you can move and reorder them on the tab strip.

23. Facebook’s ‘Messenger Rooms’, a Multi-Participant Video Chat Option is Now Available to All

Facebook is now making its new Messenger Rooms, a multi-participant video hangouts option, available to all users globally. Messenger Rooms enables users to host video chat rooms of up to 50 people, with friends able to see when you have a room active at the top of their Facebook feed and drop in if they want to join the discussion. Rooms are also available within Facebook groups and events. 

24. Google to Sunset’ Gallery Ads Beta’

Google to Sunset' Gallery Ads Beta'

Gallery ads, the splashy, image-driven format that Google introduced last year, will be phasing out. Instead, Google will focus its other image beta, image extensions. Google is informing Gallery ad beta testers that the format will sunset beginning in August. The ads featured a large carousel of images. The format has worked for the automotive industry with the auto ad unit but didn’t gain enough traction with other verticals.

25. Bing can now answer queries with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’

Bing can now return a “Yes” or “No” answer for certain queries, the company announced on Tuesday. The new search feature includes the one-word answer as well as a carousel of related excerpts from various sources.

26. Facebook Announces’ Shops’ for Facebook and Instagram

Facebook has launched ‘Shops’ on both Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook Shops make it easy for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram. Creating a Facebook Shop is free and simple. Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalog and then customize the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colors that showcase their brand

27. Users Can Now Create Messenger Rooms on Instagram

With Facebook looking to maximize any possible chance of anybody using video chat amid rising demand during COVID-19, this week the social platform has added the capacity for Instagram users to create Messenger Rooms direct from their Instagram Direct inbox. When you tap on the video chat button within Instagram Direct, you’ll see a new prompt to create a Messenger Room.

28. WhatsApp Tests QR Codes to Help Users Connect

WhatsApp has begun the testing of its own QR code option, which will make it easier for users to share their contact info via QR scans.

The new QR code option will enable users to either present their code for others to scan, which will share your WhatsApp contact info or scan through a ‘Scan Code’ option to read other users’ codes.

29. Facebook Brings Polls Back to Messenger

Facebook has today announced that polls for Messenger are once again back in play within your chat streams but in a different format.

30. Facebook Adds New ‘Profile Lock’ Option for Users in India

Facebook has added a new security option in India which will enable users to lock their profiles in one-step, which will then block almost all access to their information and content for anybody that they’re not friends with on the platform.

31. Twitter Begins Live Testing of New Controls Over Who Can Reply to Your Tweets

Twitter has officially confirmed that a limited group of users will have access to a live test of its audience control options for tweets, which will enable people to restrict who can reply to their updates.

32. Twitter Tests New Audio Tweets

This is what Twitter’s ‘Hear and Now’ audio tweets might look like. They will function with clips attached to tweets, and even be highlighted in a special segment.

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