Instagram Drops New Features and Kills One

Courtesy of Endgadget.

Courtesy of endgadget.

By: Hazel Lovely Saunders

A couple of weeks ago Instagram released a surprising new feature called Stories, which allows you to share all the moments throughout your day. Similar to rival app Snapchat, stories consists of mini video clips or pictures stay up for 24 hours, appearing as a mini slideshow or video series. Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, attempted to purchase Snapchat a couple of years ago. They couldn’t buy the app, but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t integrate their ideas in their app.

But Instagram released a feature that Snapchat doesn’t have: zooming. This gives the users the ability to zoom in on other users’ photos and videos by pinching the post. Unfortunately, this feature is only available for iPhone users, but they say it will be released soon on Android.

The new zoom feature allows marketers to get even more creative with content on Instagram. Instead of watching a video in one perspective, users can now zoom around and choose a certain focus to view.

Courtesy of Tech Crunch.

Instagram will also take advantage of the new iPhone 7 plus dual camera. Courtesy of Tech Crunch.

The problem with this new feature is that Instagram images content can look grainy if you zoom in too much. But this isn’t stopping users from using this new feature—there’s even a trending hashtag about Instagram’s latest addition.

These features are here to stay, but the photo map feature is on its way out. This classic feature allowed you to see a map of where a users’ photos were taken (if you allowed it). Instagram said in a statement to Mashable, “Photo Map was not widely used, so we’ve decided to remove the feature and focus on other priorities.”

So what are your thoughts? Are you sad to see the Photo-Map feature go? Or are you happy that you can zoom? Tweet us your thoughts @NewsWatchTV.

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How Facebook is Planning on Making VR Less Lonely

By: Kassidy Coleman

If you’ve ever worn a virtual reality headset then you know that although it’s fun, it can be a little lonely. Sure, it’s a ton of fun taking a virtual trip to Mars or traveling back in time to hang out with dinosaurs, but most of us can agree that it would be more enjoyable if we could engage in a community with other people in the virtual world.

Last month, Facebook had stated that they had a dedicated social VR team that was going to be working on finding ways to integrate VR into their social platform. Now Facebook is looking to make virtual reality a little less lonely by allowing you to share your reactions of videos viewed on Gear VR.

Facebook will start rolling out support for five emoji reactions for users to show how they feel about the virtual reality videos they’re watching. This will add a more social aspect to virtual reality. Being able to see the reactions of your friends will make it feel less like a solo trip into space.

At first, we were a little worried that the reactions would take away from the experience or just be distracting. But Facebook did a pretty good job of smoothly integrating the features without making it overbearing. The reactions of others will simply float by on your screen. Nobody will be typing anything, which could have really killed the mood if Facebook had decided to go that route.

Facebook has always let it be known that virtual reality is a huge part of their future plans which means we can definitely expect to see them integrating their social media platform even more into Oculus in the future.

However, Facebook is not the only company working to incorporate social interactions into virtual reality. The Gear VR app now allows users to create profiles, create rooms to watch video streams with friends, and there’s even multiplayer games to play.

Lately virtual reality has been everywhere in the news, but because it’s still so new, nobody knows just how successful the industry is going to be. The consulting firm, Analysis Group has estimated that worldwide revenue from virtual reality could total anywhere from $2.8 billion and $126 billion.

While there’s still a long way to go before VR can really be considered a critical part of social media, it will be an interesting journey to watch!

What do you think about Facebook incorporating reactions on Gear VR? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter!

Why Tumblr is Launching Live Video Streaming

By: Kassidy Coleman

tumblr

Whether or not you’ve noticed, right now live-streaming video is something everybody and everyone is trying to get into. Periscope, Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube – there are so many options if you really want live-streaming video. Now Tumblr, the blogging site owned by Yahoo, is trying to hop on the bandwagon.

The rumors of the new live-streaming option originated from a page that popped up on Tumblr called LiveVideo. Cryptic messages have been posted on the page suggesting potential (mostly outrageous) events that could be seen through the live stream such as the surface of Mars and basketball lessons from a Harlem Globetrotter. The page has been confirmed to be directly from Tumblr, which means we will definitely be getting LiveVideo.

There are a few reasons why Tumblr would decide to add this feature now. Most likely they are launching it because the blogging platform wants to expand and catch up with its competitors. Another probable reason is that Tumblr is really trying to generate the revenue Yahoo had predicted when they bought the blogging platform. According to Mashable, Tumblr wasn’t able to reach the $100 million in annual sales that Yahoo expected. The company also may be wanting to reinvent blogging and make it a little more personal. You can already interact with other users on the site with reblogs, likes, and comments, but the live-streaming may really bridge the gap between follower and blogger.

Lately, Facebook’s live-streaming option has been getting more attention. So we are all wondering how Tumblr’s live video option will hold up against the popular Facebook Live Video. Many web-celebrities use Facebook Live Video to be able to engage with their fans in real time. Business 2 Community highly recommends that companies find a way to incorporate Facebook Live Video into their marketing plan. By steaming live video on Facebook, you are more likely to reach more followers organically.

We really won’t know how Tumblr’s LiveVideo will do against its competitors until after it officially launches which will be June 21 at 5 PM EST.

Do you think Tumblr’s LiveVideo is a good idea? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter!

Make sure you follow us on Tumblr, our Intern BB-8 may be making an appearance on Tumblr LiveVideo!

Why People Are Upset About Facebook Tampering with their News Stories

Where do you go for your news? So many people rely on Facebook for a majority, if not all, of their news to see what the rest of the world is talking about. The social network is considered the world’s most influential news source. That’s why it is no surprise that so many people are up in arms in the recent controversy of Facebook tampering with what stories were trending.

According to the allegations, former Facebook staff would boost liberal causes and hide viewpoints that were more on the conservative side, as well as hide stories that put Facebook itself in a bad light. Many of the former Facebook workers stated they were told to inject certain stories into the trending category even if they weren’t necessarily trending. But is this really wrong? Legally, no. Ethically, probably.

Legally, Facebook did nothing wrong and they can’t really be punished for what they are being accused of. However, knowing how much power they have as an influencer, it isn’t really fair to users to be told certain news stories are the popular opinion. Facebook leads users to believe that the trending stories are important and what everyone is talking about. If a topic was actually trending and was more on the conservative side, the former Facebook staff would hide it from the “trending” section. This could potentially have drastic implications on events like the upcoming presidential election.

In a perfect world, people would search for more news sources than just Facebook. But let’s be honest – sometimes we just don’t have time to really dig through the news and it is easier to just glance through the trending topics on Facebook to see what everyone’s talking about. So many people trusted Facebook to provide them with the news stories that people were honestly talking about. It kind of makes you wonder if what you’re seeing on social media is really “trending.”

Do you think what Facebook did was wrong? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter!

 

Parents Could Be Sued for Posting Pictures of their Children on Social Media

By: Kassidy Coleman

You’ve most likely seen people posting pictures of their babies on social media, or maybe you have even posted some pictures of your kid. Well, you might want to be a little more cautious about posting those pictures of your kid online because they could end up suing you once they’re older. In France, parents have been warned to stop posting photos of their kids on social media due to them possibly suing them later in life for breaching their right to privacy or jeopardizing their security. The law could actually be catching up with the technology we have as this was never really an issue before social media. The children who grow up and sue their parents for breaching their privacy and putting them in danger could be awarded with substantial compensation. Parents might face a penalty of up to a year in prison and a hefty fine of €45,000 (which is roughly $51,000). But is this kind of punishment a little…extreme?

There is potential danger in posting pictures of children online. A recent (bizarre) trend is people stealing other people’s baby pictures and role-play as parents on Instagram. Not only that but authorities are worried that pedophiles may target families when they see pictures of children posted publicly. And then there is the question of if it is ethical to post pictures of your baby online when they have no say in it. As adults, we have a decent amount of control in what parts of our lives are publicly displayed online. Now there are kids just being born into it without much of a choice. Their online identity is being created for them instead of them deciding for themselves.

A year in prison and a fine is kind of severe for posting pictures of your child, but there should be some sort of regulation on what photos of kids can be posted. It is one thing to post newborn baby photos and it is another to post a more intimate experience such as your child being potty-trained. Of course this is also happening in France and not in the U.S. (yet) but it still something to think about. The best solution for now is probably to only share those photos in a private album that only family and friends can access.

Do you think parents should be punished for posting pictures of their children on social media? Comment below or join the conversation on Twitter!

Who is Watching you?

App Review

You spend a lot of time on social media, don’t you? Don’t worry, most of us do. And if you are like us, you have probably been at least a little bit curious about who is actually looking at your profile the most. Maybe a former friend or someone you like is secretly lurking your profile? Well now there is a mobile app that can show you your top profile views. Check out the mobile app Social Network Analyzer.

Social Network Analyzer was created by Bilal Raad. This innovative app retrieves a full list of your social network profiles – like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Then it goes on to work analyzing your top interactions like comments, likes, and chats – it even goes as far as showing you your profile views. In order to find out who views your profile you have to interpret the list a little bit. But don’t worry, it is easy. All you have to do is exclude the people that you normally interact with, the rest will be your viewers. There is a free version and a paid version. Check out the free version first and try it out, if you like what you see you will have the option to switch to the paid version. The free version shows you a part of the list but for a complete list you will have to purchase the full version. If you do not want to pay, there are still bonuses that allow you to unlock the top spots. All you have to do is share Social Network Analyzer on your Twitter or Facebook profile.

Ready to find out who is secretly viewing your social media profiles? Go download Social Network Analyzer. The app is currently available on iOS and Android devices. Head to your app store and search for “Social Network Analyzer” to download it today.

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The Ultimate Keyboard App

App Review

With mobile texting at our fingertips at all times, it feels like verbal conversations have become a thing of the distant past. That means you need a keyboard app that works for you. Check out the ultimate keyboard app, Kika. Kika Tech is a Google Top Developer that specializes in enhancing the mobile experience through next-generation keyboard apps. Their signature Kika keyboard is an instinctive, expressive, and universal app that provides everything you could possibly want to colorfully express your thoughts.

We know that sometimes the only way to get the point across in a text message is to use emojis. The Kika keyboard comes with more than 1,600 awesome emojis and emoticons plus smilies, stickers, themes, GIFs, word predictions, smart auto correct, and smooth swipe. This keyboard also supports more than 70 supported languages and a whole lot more. There is almost no limit to this beast of a keyboard. What can’t this keyboard do? We know that it gets annoying when you download a keyboard app that only works in some apps. Well, the Kika keyboard gives users a consistent universal experience across literally every app in your phone including Facebook, Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Gmail, Kik, as well as all your search tools. Kika is also the first keyboard to support WhatsApp’s skintone emojis. Not to mention this keyboard also supports the newest Unicode 7 and 8 emojis like the classic middle finger, unicorn, and taco.

In just over one year the app has been downloaded over 130 million times and boasts an average of 20 million daily users. But best of all, the Kika keyboard is free. A keyboard that comes with everything you could possibly want in a keyboard app and it is completely free, people. Right now you can download it for iOS, Android and Amazon by heading to your app store today.

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