Instagram is testing analytics for businesses, too

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Last week, we spotted an early test of Instagram's new profiles for business users. 

Now, it looks like Instagram is also starting to test analytics features for businesses. New screenshots show the photo sharing app is working on a set of fairly advanced analytics features that allow users to learn more about who is engaging with their posts.

The screenshots, once again posted by Later.com, show detailed analytics similar to what Page managers might find on Facebook.

Unlike the current app, which tells you nothing about your followers other than their user names, Instagram's analytics show a detailed analysis of who your followers are. You can see how they break down by age range, location and "the average time your followers are on Instagram on a typical day," according to Later. Read more...

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YouTube wants you to share videos with friends in new chat feature

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YouTube is launching a new messenger service for its platform to boost video sharing even more.

The Google-owned video giant confirmed to Mashable that it is releasing "native sharing" to a small percentage of YouTube users beginning Wednesday.

Using YouTube's mobile app, select users will be able to chat about and share videos in message threads. 

The addition positions YouTube to face off against Snapchat and Facebook, both of which have upped their in-app messaging offerings in the last year.

The first crop of users to check out the new feature can invite their friends to conversations, according to Wired, which first reported about the new service. The conversations will show up in a tab on YouTube's mobile app.  Read more...

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Google is reportedly announcing a standalone Android VR headset next week

google_pipe_2 Google is moving beyond Cardboard. The company will reportedly be announcing a standalone Android VR headset at next week’s Google I/O event. Tech journalist Peter Rojas has tweeted that Google will launch an untethered Android VR headset next week according to his multiple sources. Android VR will definitely be announced next week, and from what I’ve heard will be… Read More

A digital quest: Inside the connected world of 13-year-olds

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With each generation the public consciousness conjures up a new fear for our youth: where once it was rock ‘n’ roll, today the concern is that teenagers’ lives are dominated by digital media. The worry is that the digital deluge may affect their capacity to learn, to converse, to spell, and more besides. Have they no time for the leisurely face-to-face conversations of old, for spending time with family, or even for a good night’s sleep uninterrupted by the glowing screen of a smartphone? I spent a year with a class of 13-year-olds to find out.

This year of fieldwork meant spending time with them at school, at home, with friends and online. Rather than concern for their welfare, I found myself encouraged at how well they managed the huge influx of digital devices and content that now fill their lives. Writing up my research findings and thoughts in The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age, I found what teenagers wish for most is control over how they spend their time and with whom  not just to use digital media for its own sake. Read more...

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Disney, Lucasfilms unveil new web series called ‘The Star Wars Show’

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NEW YORK — The Force is getting its own web series.

LucasFilms, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media (DCPI) on Wednesday unveiled a new weekly online variety series that "celebrates the franchise, fans, and fun of the world of Star Wars."

Each seven-minute episode recaps the latest happenings in the Star Wars galaxy. 

Hosts Andi Gutierrez (StarWars.com digital communications manager) and Peter Townley (actor/Star Wars superfan) will chat "all things Star Wars" with guests, including special celebrity fans of the franchise.

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What the designer of the old Instagram icon thinks of the new one

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Plenty of people are complaining about the new Instagram logo and want it changed back to the "original." But wrap your mind around this little-known fact: The old Instagram logo — the square instant camera with the tiny rainbow — was actually not the original.

Before Instagram had the iconic logo we're all familiar with (and are now wistfully remembering), the app actually brandished a design that looked a lot more like a real camera, designed by CEO Kevin Systrom himself. Systrom said in 2011 that he changed the logo because it "had nothing to do with Instagram," and enlisted the help of one of the app's users, designer and photographer Cole Rise, to design a new one back in the fall of 2010. Read more...

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360-degree photos are coming to Facebook’s News Feed

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Facebook photos are set to get a lot more immersive.

The social network will soon add support for 360-degree photos to its News Feed, Facebook announced Wednesday. 

The new 360-degree photos will function a lot like Facebook's 360-degree videos. You can change your view of the photo by dragging you finger (or cursor, if you're on a browser) around the screen or holding your phone at a different angle.

The feature will support images shot with 360-degree camera, like Rioch's Theta S, as well panoramic shots captured on smartphones.  Read more...

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Google Photos takes on Facebook Moments with improvements to shared albums

google-photos2 Following Facebook Moments’ expansion to the E.U. and Canada earlier this week, Google is launching new features on its own photo-sharing service, Google Photos, aimed at making its app both more competitive with Moments and more social. The company is adding support for both commenting and “suggested additions.” This latter feature makes it easier for users to add their… Read More

Google to restrict ads for payday loans

google headquarters Google announced today that it will no longer allow payday lenders to advertise on its systems because the loans often come with high interest rates and quick repayment requirements that push borrowers into debt. “When reviewing our policies, research has shown that these loans can result in unaffordable payment and high default rates for users,” Google’s director of… Read More

Instagram just changed its logo in a big way

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One of the most recognizable app icons of all time is no more: Instagram is making big changes to its logo.

The Facebook-owned photo-sharing service updated its iOS and Android apps Wednesday with a new, flatter design and multicolored app icon. Instagram's other apps — Layout, Hyperlapse and Boomerang — also have similar redesigns.

Instagram's new design swaps the Polaroid-inspired camera with rainbow accent for a brighter, mor minimalist look. Layout, Hyperlapse and Boomerang get the same treatment, though those newer apps — most of which debuted years later — already brandished more modern design. Read more...

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