August has come to an end, and so does an eventful month with many interesting updates. From Messenger Rooms being made available in WhatsApp, Facebook releasing its own version of Reel like short videos, to Twitter giving a warning for harmful tweets, there were a lot of new things in the Digital space. Here is the entire set of #NewThingsInDigital in the month of August.
In case you missed last month’s list of #NewThingsInDigital click here to read.
1. Google Maps Goes Social Giving Each User Their Own Profile
Google Maps is giving users their own profiles that other users can follow which compiles all their submitted photos, videos, and reviews.
2. Google adds ‘Black-owned’ business attribute to local listings
The attribute can show when listings appear in Search and Maps and are part of several initiatives aimed at supporting Black business owners.
3. Twitter works on displaying Retweets & Quote Tweets in separate counts
Twitter has been working on making engagement displays better, the past few weeks. In an added update, the microblogging platform is testing a new variation that would display retweets and retweets with comments in separate sections. The new display makes it easier for you to see each retweet and go through them. Tapping on “Retweets” will now give you the retweets and quote tweets or retweets with comments in separate sections, with their respective counts as well!
4. LinkedIn updates its recruitment algorithm to improve outcomes
The ongoing pandemic has accounted for a significant surge in job applications, and leading recruitment platform LinkedIn has added a new update to its recruitment algorithm, which has improved response rates and hiring activity. According to LinkedIn, “To address [recruitment efficiency], we built the Qualified Applicant (QA) AI model, which learns the kinds of applicant skills and experience that a hirer is looking for based on the hirer’s engagement with past candidates. We use the model to help our members find jobs for which they have the best chance to hear back from, and to reduce the likelihood of our hirers overlooking promising applicants by highlighting those who are a great fit.”
5. Facebook unveils all-new “Music Video Playlist”!
In a move to increase focus on Facebook-exclusive music releases, the platform has launched the all-new “Music Video Playlist”, within Facebook Watch! According to Facebook, the user will be able to discover, watch and share music videos from the day’s top artists to up-and-coming bands and classics across various music genres on the platform itself. Publishers can now maintain control over the video clips of their artists when posted to Facebook, including associated monetization. This update makes Facebook a bigger launchpad for musicians and bands, also leading to more musicians making it a bigger focus for their releases.
6. Facebook tests removing the “Like” button and its count from Pages
Facebook seems to be working to provide a cleaner look for Pages, and it is doing so by removing the “like” button and the display of the number of likes from the page. It tested it on a limited number of pages and reportedly wants to roll out this design update to a broader group including the likes of pages belonging to actors, authors, creators, etc. Pages will now only have the “Follow” button which indicates how many people are receiving the page’s updates on their newsfeed.
7. Facebook Messenger now lets you share your screen on mobile!
Facebook has been aggressively updating its Messenger Apps in the past few weeks, and now, in an extension to its desktop feature, the platform has added the screen share feature to its mobile app. Previously available only on desktop, which let users share their screen on both Messenger calls and Rooms, bringing this feature to the mobile version, expands its usage and makes it easier for more engagement and communication.
8. Messenger Rooms now available on WhatsApp
Facebook has now made Messenger Rooms available on Whatsapp. Users will be able to join/create a Room via WhatsApp’s desktop version, while the feature is being tested on the mobile version as well. To create a Room on the desktop version, users need to click on the three dots available at the right corner of the screen, and click on the option “Continue with Messenger”. On the mobile app, users will find the option on clicking the “attach a file” icon on the phone.
9. WhatsApp launches Google Search prompt to verify Forwarded Messages!
With the growing number of unauthenticated forward messages circulating on social media Apps, WhatsApp has now launched a new feature – Google Search prompt withing the App, to add more context to such messages. This comes in as a measure to slow the spread of misinformation through the app.
10. Google extends lead forms to YouTube, Discovery campaigns
Google has been testing lead form ad extensions in Search campaigns since last fall. Now, advertisers can use the lead form extensions in YouTube and Discovery campaign ads as well. The company also announced new initiatives to automate data imports into Google Ads.
11. Google adds ‘last updated’ hours notification to GMB profiles
Google My Business (GMB) profiles now indicate when business hours were last updated. A small but important change, happened roughly two weeks ago.
12. Option to add Popular Music in the works, on Snapchat
Word is that Snapchat is working on a new way to share/add music within Snaps. This is seen as a move to keep up with the trend, with the fall of TikTok and the rise of its clone-counterpart Reels, while also as a move being facilitated by the app’s deal with music publishers. The new option lets users add a music track to the snap pre or post-capture.
13. Facebook makes new sponsored post options available for Groups!
As much as Facebook has been trying to enhance group engagement, it’s also been trying to create more opportunities for businesses within Groups. In its recent move, the App has added the Sponsored Post option to Facebook Groups. While running ads on Groups is an existing feature, the platform is now looking to allow group admins post Paid Partnership content directly to their groups, thereby paving the way to new revenue pathways.
14. Facebook updates Messenger chat plug-in; adds the option to message without having to log into Messenger
Facebook has launched an update for Messenger chat plug-in for websites. The update enables businesses to add a pop-up chat window to directly converse with their visitors. This update erases the need for visitors to log into the Messenger app to start a Messenger conversation but lets them directly engage in inquiries and more with the businesses, on the website itself.
15. YouTube adds story insights; updates video analytics
YouTube has made two main changes to its analytics on the website and the insights on the app. The video analytics overview layout will resemble the channel analytics format with a new real-time performance indicator section at the right of the screen. YouTube has also launched a basic Stories insight corner on the home screen, within the mobile app. The story’s insights currently display the views and the subscribers gained via stories posted in the last 14 days.
16. Facebook tests TikTok-like “Short Form” videos within its main app in India
Facebook has yet again tapped the Indian market, where TikTok has been banned and has rolled out a new “short videos” feature exclusively for Indian users. It is hard to overlook the feature’s striking similarity to TikTok. The feature, which is currently in the testing phase amongst users, can be spotted within the News Feed, and also includes TikTok’s famous vertical UX. According to a user’s tweet, users can add video clips up to 26 seconds, and longer videos can be trimmed manually. It also has the option of adding custom text, with further editing options of the same.
17. Facebook adds more to the advanced page follow options for users
In a new update, Facebook seems to be looking at giving users advanced page follow options for them to control which updates from the page they see. With a new listing of the advanced page follow options, users can now choose to receive updates of either “highlights, all updates or none” from the page. This selection can be done for posts, videos, live videos and offers, separately.
18. Users can now edit their GMB profiles directly from Search and Maps
Google has been adding an array of updates to GMB for the past few months to make it easier for small businesses to manage their online presence. Taking GMB management to the next level, the Search Engine Platform has now rolled out options that enable business owners to make edits to the GMB profile directly from platforms like Search and Maps, which are very widely used. This update gives users the options to edit business information, check messages and reviews from their business’s Google Search Listing itself.
19. Instagram tests Reels button on the lower function bar of the app
When Reels availability was expanded to more regions, a US-based tech analyst noted that the feature did not have a front-page presence, i.e., it was not accessible from the News Feed. As if taking this into account, Instagram has rolled out an upgraded home page set-up which now includes the Reels button in the lower functionality bar, after moving the discover/search button to the top functionality bar, right next to the DM button. This update gives a direct presence to Reels, making it easily accessible. This update is being tested widely in Germany only.
20. Twitter rolls out Tweet reply controls to users
After testing tweet reply controls selectively over the past few months, the microblogging site has announced that it is now making the options available to all users on Android, iOS and twitter.com! Before they tweet, users can choose who can reply between – 1) everyone (which is the standard Twitter, and the default setting), 2) Only people they follow, or 3) Only people they mention. However, people who can’t reply will still be able to view, Retweet, Retweet with Comment, share, and like these Tweets. This update encourages people to tweet their thoughts, especially on sensitive issues, without inhibitions, as it gives a sense of protection from possible abuse.
21. Twitter updates its warning prompts on potentially harmful Tweets
Warning prompts, something Twitter has been testing over the last few months, has been rolled out on Twitter to all users with an update as a test. The new update triggers a prompt warning the user of the content being potentially harmful, before he tweets. According to Twitter, “If someone in the experiment Tweets a reply, our technology scans the text for the language we’ve determined may be harmful and may consider how the accounts have interacted previously.” This update enables users to revise their tweets and reduce unintended offense and embrace being more sensitive to fellow users.
22. Google tests moving “People Also Ask” to the right sidebar
The “People also ask” bar on Google search, which originally appears on the left sidebar, is now moved to the right sidebar. This new format of the interface is one of Google’s many experiments with user interface formats.
23. Google launches “People/Virtual Visiting Cards” in India
Google has launched its “People Cards” or “Virtual Visiting Cards” in India. It is a feature in which business owners can update information about themselves including websites, social profiles and other information they want people to know. It’s a way for business owners, and entrepreneurs to build up their online presence.
24. Facebook merges Messenger and Instagram chat in a new update
Facebook has begun the process of merging platforms with a brand new update – Linking Messenger and Instagram. According to The Verge, several users across Android and iOS received a popup message about “a new way to message on Instagram”, with a list of features that are new, on Instagram. Upon hitting the update, the DM logo changes to Messenger. But for now, it is not possible to message Facebook users. This comes as a major change in DAcebook’s move to enhance cross-messaging across its Social Media platforms!
25. Google makes it easier to control Shopping ads by country
If your Google product feeds are set to show products across multiple countries, there’s a new feed field to give you some more flexibility. You can now use the shopping_ads_excluded_country attribute to keep some products from showing in certain countries you’re targeting, Google announced this month. That attribute will override the country targeting set at the feed level.
26. Twitter adds more user-related details on DM
Twitter has now announced an update that gives users more details to the direct Messenger from users they don’t follow. This will make it easier to see who the user is and how they’re connected. On receiving a DM request from someone, you will be able to see details of their profile, including their username, bio, and number of followers/number following. This added context is to help the user instantly understand who they are and why they want to get in touch.
27. Instagram rolls out “Suggested Posts” at the end of the Feed
Instagram has officially added a new post listing – Suggested Posts – at the end of your news feed. The suggested feed comes right after the “You’re all caught up” message at the end of the main feed in the app. Instagram back in 2018 added the “You’re all caught up” feature to emphasize on the fact that the user has spent a good amount of time on the app, and that they do not have to keep scrolling as they’ve caught up on all the latest posts. The suggested posts feature comes handy for those who don’t mind scrolling further, also giving Instagram a gateway to receive more engagement!
28. Instagram replaces Nametag codes with QR codes to help quickly connect users
Instagram has launched new QR codes for iOS and Android users, which comes as a replacement to the less-popular Nametag code that existed within the Instagram app. While Nametag codes was a feature aimed at easy connectivity as well as increased engagement, it was only available within the app. Whereas, the QR codes option can be accessed with the normal cameras of iOS and Android devices, which directly links them to the user’s profile.
29. Google updates Search activity cards to shopping, jobs and recipes!
While Shopping cards are not new and have been active since January 2019, Google has added them to three new fields – shopping, jobs, and recipe searches. When a user searches for something in these three fields, they’ll see more refined, relevant, and new information. The shopping activity card will show you products you’ve been researching even if they surfaced in a recent article you read. The recipes activity card will show you more related results for your query with a thumbnail preview, and lastly, the job activity card shows your newest and relevant job postings since your last search.
30. Instagram alerts to users when they share private posts and stories
Instagram has added a new notification prompt which will pop up when users are about to share private posts and stories. This is to alert them about the account’s privacy settings and bring to your notice that the people they intend to share the content with won’t be able to see/view the same. Through this update, Instagram addresses the infamous growth hack used widely by meme pages who go private just so they gain more followers. With this feature in place, users are most likely to not share the content if they know the people they intend to share the content with won’t be able to view it.
31. Google tests customized headers based on the search query
Google is now changing the header image based on the search query of the user. For example, the background changes to an image related to flowers, when the search is based on flowers, and so on. Google has made it clear that the images they use are licensed from providers.
32. Instagram is testing a “recently deleted section” for Stories
Instagram is testing a “recently deleted” section for Stories. This means, any stories that you delete will be compressed and added to the recently deleted section, which will be available for 30 days, before getting permanently deleted. This section can be found in the Accounts tab under Settings.
33. Facebook announces the BETA launch of its social VR experience platform called “Horizons.”
With virtual reality becoming more and more popular, and with COVID accelerating the process, Facebook has announced that it’s VR platform “Horizons” is now moving into closed BETA. Horizon is a sandbox creation tool for social VR, where users can interact and engage with the virtual environment.
34. Facebook adds custom backgrounds and new discovery tools for Rooms
Facebook has now announced a range of updates for its Messenger Rooms, and it includes custom backgrounds and new discovery tools. You can now personalise your Rooms background with your pictures, and can even customize your background with a funny home video. Apart from this, Facebook’s also adding new ways to discover and connect into Messenger Rooms, including – Discover Rooms, Create Rooms, Edit Rooms, Manage Rooms and Share Rooms, to enhance the user experience of the feature.
35. Twitter tests ‘Quotes’ count in place of ‘Retweets and Comments’
Just after rolling out a separate listing for ‘retweets’ and ‘retweets with comments’, Twitter is now testing out a ‘Quotes’ listing, which will replace the ‘retweets with comments’ section on the main screen. Having both ‘Retweets’ and ‘Retweets with Comment’ in a single line below the tweet itself probably looks a bit cluttered, hence it’s looking at the shorter ‘Quotes’ marker instead. This is one of the many changes introduced by the microblogging platform in recent times, in order to enhance the user experience.
36. Google tests reporting security issue false positives in Search Console
This should help sites that were mistakenly removed from Google search rectify the issue sooner. Let’s say your site was flagged by Google search as having a security issue, be it malware or maybe your site appeared to be hacked. Google is now testing a feature to let you request that Google review the site and the specific security issue if you think Google mistakenly identified your site as having such a security issue.
37. Bing considers page quality before indexing
Bing does not want to index and show search results for low quality, spammy or manipulative content.
38. Google Maps using overlays For “Claim Business” Or “Suggest Edits.”
Google Maps is now using overlay boxes when you try to claim a business or suggest an edit for the same, instead of taking you to a new page to claim the listing. This might speed up the process and encourage more to claim their businesses.