Instagram initially announced the first batch of camera effects on Instagram Stories in June, with filters designed by Ariana Grande, BuzzFeed, and the NBA. You won’t really see any follow-up from the company, unless you’ve been following certain brands and celebrities.
Here we’ve collated the branded filters on Instagram Stories you might want to try. Apologies for the barrage of selfies you’re about to see!
1) Gucci Beauty
Gucci Beauty recently launched its Instagram account and unlike most makeup and cosmetic brands wherein you see flatlays, selfies, or product shots, its initial posts are art pieces featuring women of different ethnicities from different time periods. A full week after, Gucci Beauty rolled out its filters where you can choose from three portrait looks that take after the renaissance and baroque era.
Activate the filter on your Instagram Stories by following @guccibeauty.
2) adidas Originals
This filter will instantly take you back to the 90s the same way adidas Originals has been bringing back iconic silhouettes from the past like the Continental 80 and Falcon. It adds a vaporwave feel to your videos, and raising your eyebrows triggers an old TV-like glitch that also briefly shows a pattern of the adidas Originals logo. It’s perfect for when you want your stories to have that amateur camcorder feel, sans the timestamp.
Activate the filter on your Instagram Stories by following @adidasoriginals.
Streetwear label Off-White is now a step closer to bringing its runway shows to more people. Designer Virgil Abloh says that it’s always been his challenge to think of more ways to make fashion shows less exclusive. Rolling out the filter before its show at Paris Fashion Week allows users to virtually try on the new sunglasses from its SS19 collection. And yes, the filter also includes Abloh’s signature quotes in Helvetica.
Activate the filter on your Instagram Stories by following @off____white (that’s four underscores).
4) Kylie Cosmetics
Another brand taking advantage of camera effects on Instagram Stories is Kylie Cosmetics, Kylie Jenner’s beauty empire. You can now try seven of her famous lip kits and glosses to see which shade suits your skin tone before buying them — something we wish we could do with any lipstick, really. The filter also adds eyelash extensions, applies concealer and foundation to hide your pores, as well as a bit of blush for a fully made-up look.
Activate the filter on your Instagram Stories by following @kyliejenner (NOT @kyliecosmetics).
TIP: If you don’t feel like following these accounts but want to keep using the filters, you can also permanently add them — until Instagram takes them down completely — by tapping “Try it” whenever they appear on your friends’ Stories.
Do you know of any hidden filter we didn’t include here? Let us know in the comments below.
Google’s Emoji Kitchen will mash-up your favorite emojis
Rolling out on Gboard
Do you know that Merriam-Webster adds new words to the dictionary every year? Do you also know that the Unicode Consortium adds new emojis to everyone’s devices every year? Such is the way of language. New ways to communicate will always emerge out of nowhere. Usually, they form whenever two things combine into an all-new form. It’s easy enough to combine words together, but how do you do that with emojis?
Google is developing a way to fuse emojis into new ones. In an official blog post, the Android developer announced the new feature called Emoji Kitchen. A feature of Gboard, Emoji Kitchen unlocks a plethora of new emojis. How about a cowboy ghost? Or a crying robot? Or a kissing poop face?
Prior to the Emoji Kitchen, users already received access to emoji variants in the past. Today, you can select different skin tones for human emojis. With the Emoji Kitchen, you can mix existing ones with each other. Likewise, users can access the feature automatically by opening compatible emojis. Opening the cowboy emoji sub-menu, for example, will open up its different variants.
Naturally, Emoji Kitchen will combine only existing emojis. In other words, you can’t create an all-new emoji from nothing. All new emojis come from Google’s own designers. Still, the feature’s new combinations will come in handy. Especially when I feel like a… monkey cactus?
Emoji Kitchen is slowly rolling out to Gboard users starting today. If you don’t want to wait for an official version, you can sign up for the Gboard Beta program for instant access.
Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo joins Huawei’s effort to build a Play Store alternative
Preparing for a Google-less future
Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo recently collaborated with Huawei to build the Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA). GDSA aims to create a single app store aimed at simplifying app uploads and downloads for developers and consumers.
At first glance, GDSA seems like a competitor for Google’s Play Store. Over the years, the rising hostility of the US towards Chinese tech companies led to tariffs and outright ban from using its technologies. For example, Huawei suffered an entity ban last 2018 due to suspicions of spying for the Chinese government.
Such precedence may have stoked fear among other Chinese companies that a ban could be leveraged by the US in the future. Dependence on Western technologies is crucial for these companies. As such, a ban would represent a great loss, considering that most of these companies have established markets in many countries.
To counter this scenario, these tech companies are slowly building their own alternatives to established apps and services. Huawei, for its part, had already pushed out AppGallery as an alternative to Google’s Play Store. Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo have their own app stores in China due to a continuing ban on Google’s services in the country.
A unified app store
A unified app store will greatly simplify the process for developers who have to deal with these multiple app stores. GDSA will unify the backend of these app stores so developers can publish once and have their apps appear on the brands’ respective app stores.
For now, details about GDSA are scarce. Pilot countries for its deployment include 9 key regions including India, Russia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. A prototype website has been set up, but developers cannot sign up for it yet.
But if GDSA really pushes through, Google will face some serious competition on Android app distribution. Furthermore, the issue of fragmentation will only deepen in the ecosystem as companies build their own version of Google apps.
Xiaomi already responded with a statement stating that they have no plans to position GDSA as a Play Store competitor. The company reiterated GDSA’s function to simplify the app uploading process. Furthermore, there was no mention of Huawei in their statement.
Huawei and Google have yet to release a statement. However, it is clear that Google will not welcome this development. Considering that Google has an iron grip on app store distribution outside China, a viable competitor will only compel the American company to further control the Android ecosystem.
With a tightening grip on Android, other tech companies will only intensify their efforts to build an alternative OS. Huawei, as an example, launched HarmonyOS for its devices in the future.
An alternative app store will also open up another potential avenue for hackers targeting users with malware. This will only contribute to security and privacy problems in Android, which has long been dealing with notorious malware and data breaches.
Grab Philippines ordered to suspend in-car recording and selfie verification
Due to violations in the Data Privacy Act of 2012
Last year, Grab Philippines tested new features to ensure passenger and driver safety. These new features are in-car audio and video recording, as well as selfie verification.
However, the country’s National Privacy Commission (NPC) ordered Grab to halt the rollout of these features. The commission stated that those features pose a privacy risk to passengers. A cease and desist order released by NPC cites violations within the Data Privacy Act of 2012, which governs the privacy and security of all digital data on the country.
NPC also stated in its Notice of Deficiencies that the ride-sharing company failed to assess the new features’ risk to passengers, taking only into account “the risk faced by the company”.
The notice also noted that there is no clear mechanism for informing passengers when recorded data gets sent to authorities. It also found out that there is ambiguity in opting out of recording.
As such, NPC gave Grab 15 days to address the deficiencies it found for both in-car recording and selfie verification. This is surely a welcome move for ensuring passengers’ privacy. However, the question remains on what measures Grab will implement in the future to protect its passengers’ safety.
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