It’s a big day for smartphone users as Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter roll out major updates to their iOS and Android apps.
60-second videos on Instagram will be available on iOS starting today, the photo-sharing app said in its blog post. This comes more than a month after it announced the expansion of video ads from 30 seconds to a full minute, giving advertisers more flexibility in time for Super Bowl 50.
Instagram first introduced videos in June 2013, which have only been limited to 15 seconds until today. The amount of time people spend watching videos on the app increased by more than 40% in the last 6 months, says the announcement.
Roll out for Android will be available in the coming months.
Snapchat expands Chat with features that best emulate face-to-face conversations like video and audio calls.
Previously, users can only video chat when both parties have each other’s Chat page open. With Chat 2.0, you can start a video chat with any of your friends, whether they are online or offline. Your friend can choose to ignore your video chat, watch, or join you the same way a video call works. You can also now send messages simultaneously during video chats.
If video calling is not for you, audio calls are also now available and will work the same way as video chatting. Chat 2.0 also added GIF-like video notes that appear as round thumbnails and audio notes, much like voice messages, that you can leave for your friend to see or listen to when he comes online.
Or maybe stickers can say it best for you? Snapchat also introduces virtual stickers to its chat just like the ones offered by messaging apps LINE, Viber, and Messenger. Typing keywords like ‘love’ will search the Snapchat trove for matching stickers you can use. While searching is more convenient, switching from one sticker pack to another needs more effort – you’ll have to scroll down endlessly to find the sticker you’re looking for.
Snapchat also introduces Auto-Advance Stories. Watching your friends stories is now made easier, with each one loading automatically right after the other. This eliminates having to swipe down to exit and selecting another story to watch.
Twitter makes images more accessible for the visually impaired by adding alternative text or alt text.
An add description button will appear on each photo you add to a tweet, allowing for up to 420 characters that should help describe and convey the same information as the image.
Adding alt text for images is the first principle of web accessibility according to WebAIM. It essentially replaces images for people with visual disabilities, so they can have access to them through screen readers or braille displays.
To enable this feature, go to your iOS or Android app’s accessibility settings.
[irp posts=”10832″ name=”WhatsApp copies Snapchat”]
Twitch is shutting down in South Korea
By the end of February 2024
Livestreaming has been an entertainment juggernaut since 2020. A lot of users online, especially those stuck at home or who have transitioned to work-from-home lifestyles, have turned to streaming both as viewers and as creators themselves. Unfortunately, in some countries, streaming doesn’t come cheap. If you’re in South Korea or are fans of Korean streamers, the streaming landscape is about to change. Twitch is shutting down in the country.
In a blog post released today, Twitch CEO Dan Clancy announced that the company’s operations in South Korea will stop on February 27. After this date, streamers who made Twitch their community’s home will have to find a new platform.
As a gesture of goodwill, Clancy says that the company will help Korean streamers find a new home — even if it’s not on Twitch — leading up the shutdown date. Currently, YouTube remains a possible destination for streamers.
Operating an online company in South Korea is pricey. Because laws are different in the country, internet service providers can charge companies significantly more for bandwidth usage. Because of the exorbitant costs, “Twitch has been operating in Korea at a significant loss,” Clancy said, leading to the withdrawal.
The death knell has sounded for a while. Last year, the platform downgraded the country’s maximum resolution to only 720p in an attempt to reduce costs. Though a former leader in South Korea’s thriving esports community, Twitch now finds itself on a flight heading out of the country.
Facebook, Instagram will lose cross-platform messaging this month
For an unknown reason
Over the past few years, Meta started integrating its various platforms into one ecosystem. Right now, Facebook and Instagram users can chat with each other on their respective apps. Unfortunately for fans of the cross-communication between the two platforms, Meta is taking the feature away this month.
Through a new support page, Instagram has announced that chatting between the two platforms will no longer be available starting in mid-December. The exact date of the removal is currently unknown, though.
When the undisclosed date arrives, Instagram users cannot start new conversations with Facebook users anymore. Additionally, all existing chats between the two platforms will become read-only, meaning users can’t add new messages to the conversation anymore.
On the flipside, Facebook users will stop seeing the Activity Status of Instagram users from their platform. Cross-platform conversations will not appear on Messenger, either.
Though the support page is conclusive against the feature, Meta has not explicitly explained why Meta changed its current cross-platform plans. It’s still possible that the company will implement a better solution in the future. As it stands, the European Union’s GDPR regulations require large companies to main interoperability between different platforms. Meta is an undeniable example of such a large company.
Strava is getting a much-requested chatting feature
Individual and group chats
What is your fitness app of choice? Though there are a lot of options available now for enthusiasts, it’s undeniable that Strava is making one hell of an impact lately. If you’re a fan of the social fitness app, you’re getting a new feature to boost the social part of Strava.
Today, Strava is getting a substantial messaging feature for users. In the new update, users can start chats with other users in single or group conversations.
It’s a comprehensive feature, too. Chats will include likes and GIF reactions. Additionally, users can configure their options to accept messages only from mutuals or only after they messaged the other person first. Additionally, group chat creators can manage the participants included in the chat.
When compared to other fitness apps today, Strava is arguably leaning more towards the social aspect of the experience. The app allows users to run and hike together as a community. Now, despite how social the core of the app is, it never really allowed users to communicate directly with one another. Users had to rely on external messaging apps just to coordinate with one another.
As of late, Strava continues to pile on more features and integrations with other apps. Earlier this year, the app started allowing users to integrate with Spotify.
SEE ALSO: Spotify can now integrate with Strava
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