Vine Successor Enters the Game & Tik Tok Gets Left in the Dark (mode)
This week we’re wrapping up January, and wrapping up the news roundup for good *sob*. To bring things to a close, we’re talking about new Search Console updates, Facebook’s latest employee, epic AR usage at Pinterest, and the new kid on the app block – Byte.
It’s the last ever written version of Digital News Roundup 😱
Remove your sites from Search Results with new tools from Google
News this week indicates that Google is updating the Removals report within Search Console, adding functionality which will allow people to temporarily remove sites from search results.
The updated Removals report is designed to allow site owners to take quick action to remove specific pieces of content from Google’s SERPs in an independent way; a move which may previously have required developer involvement. A successful removals request will stay in place for around 6 months – so not the right call if you only want to remove pages for a few days.
It’s worth keeping in mind that this tool won’t stop pages appearing in other search engines, and it is only a temporary fix – but hopefully it will give site owners the time to scope out a more permanent solution. Read more on the update, as well as some other new features around outdated content, over at Search Engine Journal.
Facebook appoints head of Oversight Board
Last September, Facebook announced the creation of an independent oversight board, which would have the power to “override Facebook decisions on contentious material”. This week it announced that Thomas Hughes, a British HR expert, has been appointed to lead the team.
Hughes previously worked as the executive director at non-profit British human rights organisation Article 19, and has described his new spot at Facebook as a “natural follow-on” from his work there. So far, Facebook is yet to announce who will be working with Hughes on the board, but it has committed to funding the board and its team for at least six years.
The first step will be for the board to approve a set of “by-laws” which Facebook has proposed, although some external bodies are sceptical as to how much power they will actually have.
“The Facebook oversight board is an important and long-overdue initiative, but it’s also going to be very easy for it to be constrained and less effective than is necessary,” explained Jim Killock, executive director of Open Rights Group. Take a look at more about the board over at BBC News.
Vine’s successor ‘Byte’ has entered the game
Vine lovers, it’s time to get excited. One of Vine’s co-founders has this week released a new social media app called Byte.
The app will be available on both iOS and Android, and aims to be a “direct successor” to Vine – letting users create and share their own 6-second looping videos. First-timers can head to the Explore tab to get a feel for the kind of content being shared, with there also being content feeds and individual user profiles to view.
Users can shoot videos within the app itself or upload directly from their device, but they won’t be able to edit videos within the app using filters or effects, like you can on TikTok or Snapchat. However, the ability to upload from device does allow for the use of third-party apps if you just cannot live without those cat ears.
Byte was only beta tested for nine months, so there’s likely to be some limitations initially – although the app will be prioritising communication with creators through its own community forum, so expect to see evolutions happening fairly rapidly. Check out more on the release at Search Engine Journal.
Google looking to combine its workplace platforms
Google has announced that it’s working on a communications app which will help to combine and unify some of the services most often used by businesses.
The new product will combine parts of G Suite, like corporate Gmail and Google Drive, as well as Hangouts. However, with the already pretty confusing format of Hangouts – with Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet – some are sceptical that throwing another communications platform into the mix will only make things more confusing. There’s also the specificity around corporate usage to consider, as the consumer platforms are a different entity – yep. Confusing, right?
When it comes to why Google is bothering with a whole new app, experts have theorised that it’s intended to help “win over” business customers who currently use things like Slack or Microsoft Teams for all of their corporate comms. Streamlining and making things less confusing may be a good place to start. Take a look at the full story on The Verge.
Try on ‘virtual lipstick’ with new Pinterest AR
Sure, there’s been some pretty influential updates in the world of digital marketing this week, but I am about to break what is arguably the most impactful news – Pinterest will now let you ‘try on’ lipstick colours. Yes, you read that correctly – you will be able to try on lipstick shades, within the Pinterest app, without leaving the house.
Putting the power of augmented reality to one of its most wonderful uses, Pinterest will be launching the ‘try on’ feature as part of its push to enhance eCommerce discovery on the platform. This will work in conjunction with the skin tone range features, which lets users opt to see pins with skin tones that match their own.
One particularly interesting stance from the platform is that the tool “won’t include skin smoothing or image altering effects that make you look less like you (as you might see on some other AR technologies)” – focusing on a more functional application, rather than the enhanced filters seen on other apps.
The ‘try on’ option will only be available with specific brands initially, with other brands able to apply to take part. Can you tell that lipstick makes me happy? Check out more on this glorious announcement over at Social Media Today.
A little late to the party? TikTok jumps on the ‘dark mode’ bandwagon
If you get as excited about dark mode as we do here at GIANT towers, then you’ll be pleased to know that TikTok has also decided to ride the dark mode wave – introducing its own low light setting for some users.
Previews show that TikTok will likely look to match the light settings on a device, such as mirroring when you have dark mode activated on your phone as a whole, as well as giving users the option to switch it on within the app specifically.
Reporters note that users should start seeing the option roll out soon, so keep an eye on your profile in the coming weeks if you want to indulge your inner goth one more time. Read the full story at Social Media Today.
And just like that, we bring this chapter of digital news to a close. Don’t panic, we’ll still be bringing you a whole host of epic content throughout 2020, but for now, it’s time to close the SGM News Room for one final time – and bring my paper-shuffling news reporter fantasy to an end. It’s been real.
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