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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Snapchat Wants to Use Object Recognition to Give You a More Customized Experience

By: Kassidy Coleman

Over the past few months, Snapchat has really stepped up their game with incorporating ads into their app. Now the social media app wants to totally revolutionize the way ads are targeted towards an audience. A patent application has been filed by Snapchat for using object recognition to customize what sponsored filters are shown on user’s phones.

 

patent1

(Photo source: United States Patent and Trademark Office)

Nobody should take this idea too seriously until they announce it has been approved, because remember – it is just a patent. Apparently the application was filed in January 2015 and Business Insider was the first to notice that it was published this month. In the patent, Snapchat described how object recognition could work as a “compelling way for users to personalize, supplement and enhance” their snaps. To illustrate how this technology would work, Snapchat provided the example of a user taking a snap of the Empire State Building. The object recognition within the app could identify the building and when the user goes through the different filters, they would have an image of King Kong on top of it.

 

 

Users can even create their own custom geofilter, filters based on your location, designs for free – so for example, if you’re having a party or event, you could create a fun geofilter your friends can use. However, advertisers still have to pay to create filters that promote their product.

 

snapchat object recognition 2

(Photo source: United States Patent and Trademark Office)

If the patent does get approved, this could be interesting for advertisers. The object recognition could be good news for them, as it could help get more people to use their sponsored filters and provide even more opportunities for more involved ads. For example, if the system recognizes you’re inside a restaurant it may provide you with filters of the menu from that restaurant. Snapchat also revealed that it could have an automated auction system that would allow different companies to compete to put their filter for certain objects.

 

This patent, if approved, would be a definite game changer in terms of advertising. And we think it would make the app even more fun and addicting.

 

What do you think about Snapchat’s idea? Is it cool or invasive? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter!

 

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Have you listened to the Official NewsWatch Podcast yet? Every other Friday we discuss technology, movies, and more – it’s hilarious and informative!

 

You Can Now Record Your (or your Pet’s) Entire Life

By: Kassidy Coleman

(Photo source: Perfect Memory)

 

If you could record your entire life, would you? Well, now it’s possible with Perfect Memory, a sleek, modern camera with great video quality. This camera streams both photo and video directly to your phone, can be used on your pet, and works with any sports camera mounts.

 

(Photo Source: Perfect Memory)

Made with Instagram and Snapchat in mind, it allows you to instantly take photos or videos of anything. You can even do timelapse videos and photos. It is easy to control by using the control buttons on the device or from the app on your phone. With no limit to the size of your video, the possibilities are endless.

 

Don’t think your life is interesting enough to record? Think again. Perfect Memory allows you to auto-edit portions of your life into fun clips and videos. So you can go back and see what you actually saw throughout the day. Kind of creepy, kind of cool.

 

The idea seems interesting, and with it being 2-3x smaller than GoPro’s most recent model, it is a great alternative for people who have been turned off by GoPro’s techy aesthetic. And it is even compatible with all your GoPro mounts.

 

Is it necessary to record your entire life? Probably not, but it’s a fun thing to be able to do. We will definitely be trying this out on our dogs to see what they’re truly up to during the day.

Early bird backers can get the camera in silver or rose gold for just $199. It will be shipping out in October.

 

Would you record your entire life using Perfect Memory? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter!

 

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Even More Changes for Twitter

By: Kassidy Coleman

 

 

Earlier this month, it was huge news that Snapchat totally beat Twitter in daily usage. Now it’s becoming more evident that Twitter has been working hard to try to catch back up to Snapchat and become more relevant in the world of social media.

 

Today, Twitter announced they will be giving users more room for creativity. Soon, you will be able to add #stickers to your pictures and share them with the Twitter world.

 

Every day, millions of photos are Tweeted every day and Twitter wants #stickers to help connect them all. Twitter plans on using #stickers as a visual hashtag. Basically, when you tap on a sticker in a Tweet, you are then taken to a new timeline and can see how other people are using that sticker on their photos. It sounds kind of like they may have just one-up’d Snapchat. Snapchat already allows users to add silly stickers, however there is no database to see how other users are using them.

 

Lately Twitter has been having a problem with getting users to actually Tweet and not just lurk around. Their solution to that is now allowing you to see Tweets from specific places, such as a restaurant, sports game, or business. Powered by Foursquare, when you tag a specific location, it will be visible on the main timeline. Click the location on the Tweet, and you’ll be able to see other people’s tweets from that location. So if you could see Tweets people posted about a certain restaurant and decide whether or not you actually want to eat there. This feature should encourage users to Tweet while on the go and get completely immersed in their environment. Although an issue that has risen is locations are not geofenced, meaning anyone can put their location as anywhere and spam certain locations.

 

Do you think that Twitter’s new features are going to help it catchup to Snapchat? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter!

What You Need to Know About Snapchat’s Most Recent Makeover

By: Kassidy Coleman

(Photo source: Snapchat)

Snapchat has been all over the headlines recently. But just in case you haven’t been paying attention to Snapchat (because let’s face it – you’re either a Snapchat fiend like us or you just don’t get it…there’s no in-between), here’s a recap of what’s been going on with them over the past few months: Back in April, Snapchat made a drastic update (Snapchat 2.0). With Snapchat 2.0, they brought everything we had been waiting for and more – it changed the way we view stories, allowed us to send photos during a call, introduced new audio and video features, and gave us over 200 fun stickers to send friends. Then last week it was announced that Snapchat is completely dominating the world of social media by beating Twitter with total daily users.

Well now Snapchat is making headlines again. Yesterday Snapchat got a makeover, mostly focusing on the Discover page. Back in 2015, Snapchat first introduced the Discover page, featuring brands like Cosmo, CNN, IGN, Vox Media, and Mashable. Well, apparently not enough people were watching those. Most likely because people couldn’t always tell what content these brands were providing behind the fairly simplistic logos (Really, nobody was intrigued enough by the tiny circles that simply said “IGN” or “WSJ”). Well now the Discover page is  a tiled-layout that allows you to quickly glance through what the different publishers have to offer. Publishers can have custom photos and headlines which will hopefully get more people watching their stories.

IMG_0891So, for example, this morning iHeartRadio showed a picture of Kanye accompanied by the headline “19 Kanye Lyrics about Food.” And National Geographic showed a photo of a shark with the headline “15 Stunning Marine Moments.” Most likely you’ll be more inclined to click on the stories on the Discover page than you were before the update. Its kind of like a modern, interactive newspaper.

Users can now also “subscribe” to publishers’ channels. When you subscribe, those stories will automatically appear under the “Recent Updates” section, making it more likely that people will watch these channels on a regular basis.

What do you think about this Snapchat makeover? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter!

 

Snapchat Beats Twitter in Daily Usage

By: Kassidy Coleman

It is becoming more and more clear that what people want out of a social media app is quickly evolving. Remember when it was weird if you weren’t on Twitter? Well, now its not that weird. Although we know Twitter can be very influential, especially with their trending hashtags, they are starting to see a steep decline. As far as daily use goes, Snapchat is beating Twitter. According to The Verge, Snapchat has 150 million people using the app every day, while only 140 million people use Twitter every day.

That might not sound like a big deal until you think about how old each of the social networks are. This past March, Twitter turned a decade old. While Snapchat is only five years old. It is obvious that Snapchat is swiftly building an empire while the one Twitter has built up is kind of starting to crumble.

And Twitter is really feeling the struggle to stay relevant in the world of social media. Twitter Chief Executive Officer, Jack Dorsey said that Snapchat is “very modern” and he is aware that Twitter can be both confusing and alienating, but he is trying to fix that. Maybe that’s what led Twitter to stop counting links and images in their notorious 140-character limit in an attempt to make it easier for new users. But it doesn’t help that Snapchat continues to roll out features that users quickly fall in love with. From silly filters to face swapping to being able to send stickers to friends, Snapchat’s most recent changes have users begging for more. And businesses looking to advertise on a social platform are well aware that Snapchat is where they should be doing it. Meanwhile, Twitter has been struggling to convince advertisers that they can make them money, but businesses are practically begging to be able to advertise on Snapchat to be able to reach the 13-34 year old demographic.

IMG_0891Regardless, it is apparent that Snapchat is more favorable than Twitter. It makes you wonder if Twitter will soon face the same doom as Myspace did back in the day. Of course, without question, Facebook is still the most used with a total of 1.09 billion daily active users and it isn’t likely to decline any time soon.

Do you think Twitter will be able to catch back up with Snapchat? Let us know in the comments below!
Make sure you add us on Snapchat!

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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