There have been a number of updates this week, some small but notable tweaks to Facebook Messenger, and some substantial changes within visual platform Instagram, and close competitor Twitter.
No Facebook account? No problem! Facebook Messenger is advancing ever closer to messaging app domination with this update earlier this week.
For certain countries only, for now, when people download the Messenger app, they will see a new option on the sign-up screen saying ‘not on Facebook?’. This new option allows users to create an account solely for the app, and sign in using their name and phone number.
These non-account holder users will still have access to all of the same features, however, given that Messenger relies on connecting with contacts by accessing your Facebook friends, these users will have to rely on their phonebook contacts to make connections.
Just when you think Messenger can’t possibly add any more features, it goes and does just that. Yesterday, Facebook rolled out a feature, which prevents users from having to leave the platform to add links into the conversation – handy for users, but also very handy for Messenger as users will no longer have to leave the platform and access their web browser.
To explain this new feature, Facebook have added a new ‘link’ button above the keyboard. When clicked, this allows users to enter a key search term or phrase, prompting the app to list relevant links that Facebook thinks you may want to share with friends, based on this search term.
The updates don’t stop there…
The visual marketing platform has completely overhauled its search function, which most Instagram users will agree has been a long time coming!
Instagram’s new Explore page (you can find this in the same place that the ‘Discover’ page was) will enable users to find posts around specific events or themes, in real time. Explore will be comprised of three sections. The first will highlight trending places at the top of the screen, both big, popular events, and those nearby you. The second will show a selection of photos curated by the Instagram team, showing photos from popular accounts. The third will be a bit more like the ‘Discover’ page, showing popular posts and posts that the platform thinks you would want to see.
This new search function suggests good things for regular users of the platform. Users post 70 million photos and videos to Instagram every day, which is why it is important for the platform to enable users to easily discover more and more of this great content.
Instagram’s update comes just a week after one of it’s biggest competitors, Twitter, announced new ‘Project Lightning’, which involved many similar features and a very similar aim to this latest update from Instagram.
Recent tests by Twitter suggest that the social media giant wants to get in on the increasingly popular online and social shopping action. One such test, which suggests this move, is that Twitter introduced product and place pages. Twitter is aiming for these pages to be a new discovery tool that will allow users to explore content that is relevant to the tweets appearing in their feed.
These pages will display images and videos about a product or place, which will be accompanied by information such as a description, price, option to buy, nook or visit the website. Beneath this will be tweets relevant to you and to the product in question.
The next test is product and place collections. Twitter is also testing new ways for people and brands to share Twitter collections of products and places, which will be an accumulation of content from relevant influencers regarding products or places that Twitter deems you will find interesting. Currently, Twitter has a list of curators who have created such collections, but in Twitter’s blog, the platform promises that this is just the start.
On mobile and desktop users can visit the profiles of curators to view their collections. On iOS, users can also find these collections in the search bar categories.
Let us know your thoughts on these updates; tweet us @SocialBuk
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