With almost a billion active users, Instagram has become the world’s most popular social media platform. Instagram first started as a simple platform which allowed people to share photos, but over the years, it has grown to become one among the most popular apps in the world. To cope with the ever increasing popularity, Instagram is constantly changing, adding new features, removing some old features and switching up their algorithm. With every update the app has something new to offer to its users.
At this year’s F8 Conference, Instagram made announcements for some major changes it is going to bring to the app. Here is a list of a few of them:
1) Instagram Stories camera
The first new Instagram feature is a refurbished camera with a new camera mode called “Create.”
The new camera will feature a mode switcher which will make it easier to find all the creative tools. In the Camera mode, you can swipe right to access all the different shooting modes like Boomerang, Rewind and Superzoom. When you swipe left, you can access all the creative tools like stickers and GIFs.
2) Hidden like count
Instagram announced it is testing a new feature which will hide the number of likes on your photos.
According to Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, this new feature can take away the pressure people feel to get more likes on their posts. With the test, Instagram plans to remove the total number of likes from photos and videos which show up on your page. It will only show a call out of the people who have liked the photo but not the exact number of likes. However, on demand, the owner of the photo or video will be able to see the total number of likes.
3) Users can now buy products from their favourite Instagram influencers
Influencers are a huge part of Instagram and they can drive massive sales for brands.
The new Instagram update will let creators tag the products they are wearing or using on Instagram. This link will directly take users to the product page for instant checkout.
This new Instagram feature could be a big game changer for brands working with influencers.
4) All new creator profiles
Just like business profiles, influencers will now be able to switch to creator profiles.
This feature will give them access to some exclusive features and in depth analysis. They will also be able to access Instagram Creator Studio from desktop, which will have a wide range of analytics metrics.
5) Donation sticker for Instagram stories
With this new Donation sticker, it is much easier to raise money for non profit purposes from within the app.
Simply open the camera, take a photo and select the Donation sticker.
You can then customize and select the cause you support and upload the story. Hundred percent of the money you raise will go to the causes you support.
6) Force posts from influencers into your feed
Instagram is now going to show posts from influencers in your feed even if you do not follow them.
Typically, Instagram shows posts from people you follow in your feed along with some ads. However, this is going to change with the next Instagram update. Apparently, influencers can pay to promote their branded content and they will appear in your feed. Instagram confirmed, these paid posts will appear in your feed and your stories in the coming weeks.
This year, Instagram has brought some great features our way and at the F8 Conference, Instagram also mentioned it is testing some features like “Away Mode” and “Nudge.”
While these updates might be extremely beneficial for influencers and businesses, we will have to wait and see how these updates will be received by the regular Instagram users.
4 Useful And New WhatsApp Features That Released During The COVID-19 Lockdown
WhatsApp is one of the worlds largest online texting applications which is used almost in every country. It is a light and easy to use texting application which also offers a lot of other important utilities other than texting. These include video calling, group video calling, digital payments, document and media sharing and location sharing. What began as a simple texting application is now an indispensable part of our lives because WhatsApp has made information flow faster and safer. WhatsApp kept scaling new heights time and again and this was possible only because of the constant innovation by the developer team.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic which forced entire countries to go into lockdown and shut down businesses, WhatsApp is doing its part to help people during these times by rolling out some nifty and important features.
Group video call limit increased
WhatsApp had the facility for group video calls which could only accommodate 4 people in a single call. However, with a new update WhatsApp increased the limit of group video calls to 8 users. The update is not just limited to increase in participants but also to the audio and video quality. There has been a noticeable increase in the quality of the video and audio in group video calls.
‘Together At Home’ sticker pack
WhatsApp has launched a new sticker pack called ‘Together at Home’ in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO.) The sticker pack aims to help people stay connected throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Restrictions on frequently forwarded messages
This is probably one of the most important features to be released during the COVID-19 lockdown. In a country like India, a lot of misinformation is shared on a daily basis on WhatsApp messages and most of these messages are forwards. The amount of misinformation on WhatsApp is so high that WhatsApp is often referred to as ‘Whatsapp University.’ During the coronavirus pandemic, WhatsApp restricted ‘frequently forwarded messages’ to be sent to not more than one chat at a time.
WhatsApp has launched chatbots by partnering with WHO and the Indian government and launched a chatbot to provide authentic information related to the COVID-19 virus. The chatbot developed by the Indian government is known as MyGov Corona Help Desk and can be accessed by adding +91-9013-151515 to your contacts and sending a message.
Sharing correct information, avoiding incorrect panic.
Here is an effort by WhatsApp and @mygovindia to ensure you receive accurate and verified information on Coronavirus.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 21, 2020
We believe that these features are definitely the need of the hour and will go a long way in creating a positive impact. Let us know if you used any of these features on your mobile device!
Star Wars And Coca Cola Singapore Launch Limited Edition World’s First Electronic Coke Bottles
Star Wars over the years has managed to gather a cult following which stretches across generations. Star Wars is one of the biggest and the most famous film franchises to have ever been created. The latest trilogy in the Star Wars is referred to as the Skywalker Saga and the final movie of the trilogy, The Rise Of Skywalker released last year. Movie franchises have been known to rely on merchandising as part of their promotional strategies and the Star Wars franchise partnered up with Coca Cola to create a unique and one of its kind merchandise. The output of this partnership is very unique and the world’s first electronic coke bottle.
Coca-Cola Singapore harnessed the flexibility of Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) displays to wrap special-edition sugar-free Coke bottles with light-up, glowing lightsabers wielded by the Star Wars characters, Rey and Kylo Ren.
These bottles are part of a limited edition batch and the only way to obtain one of them is by answering a riddle which is revealed on Facebook and Instagram. Answering these riddles will reveal locations near the 7-Eleven stores around Singapore where one can obtain a special pass. This special pass can be redeemed to purchase the limited edition bottle. These bottles have a touch sensor and squeezing the bottle will light up the lightsabers of Kylo Ren and Rey. Each OLED on the bottle can light up to 500 times.
There are only 8000 of these bottles available making these collectibles very rare. Some of these bottles are sold on ebay for as much as $ 800 which is a high premium.
It will be interesting to see how this OLED technology will be incorporated and it is safe to say that we would be seeing more products which use OLEDs on their packaging in the future. Coca Cola is always at the forefront of innovation and these electronic coke bottles are a perfect example.
‘May the force be with you’ should you set out to find one of these rare collectibles!
Is AI The Future Of Retail?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is slowly becoming a key element in the modern, technologically driven world. Along with other industries, AI is also making its presence known in the retail industry.
Artificial intelligence is used to define the intelligence demonstrated by machines. Through AI, machines can store data from previous experiences, adjust to new inputs and can also perform human like tasks. By combining large sets of data, iterative processing and detailed algorithms, AI is able to learn quickly from patterned data. AI can become a crucial part of retail business, if integrated properly.
AI can be beneficial when it comes to daily task management and gaining insights about customers. Using AI in retail stores can also contribute to time management for business owners as well. This could also help in customizing the shopping experience of customers all the while creating a better business due to customer interaction. This, inturn, helps the business gain more customer insights.
Moreover, using such technology in the retail industry will leave less room for errors. It will also help owners keep tabs on shoplifting as every item will have a record in the store database. AI operated retails would be able to work 24*7 without any manpower, resulting in more profits for retail businesses.
Even though AI supported retail stores are still far away, two of the world’s biggest retailers, Amazon and Walmart, already introduced stores which are entirely AI dependent.
In 2018, Amazon announced a chain of convenience stores named Amazon Go, which are partly automated. The stores use several different technologies like computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion. The ceilings of the stores are equipped with multiple cameras and the store shelves have weight sensors attached to them. These weight sensors help in the detection of the items taken by a customer and the item is automatically added to the customer’s virtual cart. Introduced on January 22nd 2018, Amazon Go has 18 outlets in the United States.
Meanwhile, Walmart, in April 2019, introduced its Intelligent Retail Lab (IRL.) Based in New York, this store comes equipped with artificial intelligence cameras, interactive displays and massive data centers. This store is also used by Walmart as a lab to explore the future use of AI in the retail industry.
While AI operated stores are beneficial to everyone, the cost behind such a project can be a real nightmare. Implementing high tech devices can be expensive, especially for small businesses and also increases dependency on machines. However, the benefits of this technology are much higher, to be ignored completely.
Incorporating artificial intelligence into the retail sector may sound like science fiction. However, the efforts put in by these giant retailers and the advancement of technology mean AI operated retail shops will be a part of our future.
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