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Week In Social: livestreaming, messages, video places and the launch of Spaces

Google launches ‘Spaces’ group-sharing app on Android, iOS and desktop

Google has today released a brand-new, Pinterest-esque app called Spaces, which it describes as a “tool for group sharing”. After being tested for a few months, it’s today breaking out of beta and rolling out across Android, iOS, desktop, and the mobile Web for Gmail accounts. Users create “spaces” and certain topics or purposes, and can then invite anyone to join. “We wanted to build a better group sharing experience, so we made a new app called Spaces that lets people get together instantly to share around any topic,” said Google’s product director, Luke Wroblewski.

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Instagram’s analytics will offer audience demographics, post impressions, reach and more

Instagram is going the distance to help its business and brand users get the most out of their experience, and will soon launch a new series of tools to track analytics around posts, as well as a mobile ad-buying experience. According to leaked screenshots of the analytics tool, the offering will be called “Insights,” and will be focused on two main areas: follower demographics and post analytics. The follower analytics section offers demographic details about the audience including location, age and gender. Location information is available by country or by city, with makes it useful to both big brands and local businesses.

Read more at TechCrunch

Facebook now lets brands use video ads in Audience Network to raise awareness 

So you’re surely across the fact that Facebook are well interested in videos at the moment, meaning it won’t come as a surprise that the company has added support for video in its Audience Network platform. It all started early this week and will continue rolling out over the next few weeks, and advertisers will be able to use video ads to drive brand awareness, and the ads will not only be available on mobile apps and sites, but desktop, too. Lead product marketing manager, Brett Vogel said: “For advertisers, this is exciting because with a single checkbox, they’re extending campaigns beyond the walls of Facebook, meaning more audience, more scale, and more reach.”

Read more at VentureBeat

Twitter is testing a Periscope live-streaming button inside its mobile apps

Facebook’s dedicated tab for streams, Twitter has announced an integration between its live-streaming platform, Periscope, and the Twitter mobile apps. Currently in its testing phase, a few Twitter for Android users have a ‘Go Live’ button alongside their existing media options. Those who already have the app on their phones are directed there, while others are sent to Google Play to download it. “Over time, all users will have the ability to start a Periscope broadcast from Twitter,” the company said in a statement.

Read more on TechCrunch 

100M users strong, Dubsmash turns silly (and amazing) lip-syncing into a full-featured video-messaging app

Everyone’s favorite lip-syncing video service is transforming into a social platform in its own right, launching a revamped app which now lets users share content directly within the app itself. A partner at Dubsmash investor Index Ventures explains: “In the same way that Instagram is much more than an app to put filters on pictures, and Snapchat is much more than an ephemeral messaging app, Dubsmash is evolving to be much more than a way to create lip-sync videos – it’s helping people rethink what is possible in terms of video communication.”


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Vine adds timed Vine Challenges based on specific themes

After losing much of its influencers big bigger, badder platforms this year, Vine is calling for material by launching the first in a series of timed Vine Challenges, each encouraging users to create Vines related to specific themes. Challenge #1 invited users to create Vines that related to the hashtag #PartyRehearsals – those moments when users prepare for social interactions (or lack thereof) at a party. For every challenge that is launched, users will be able to submit their Vines to the Vine Challenge channel, or use the challenge’s hashtag to include their Vines in the event. Users also have the chance to be featured by the channel, increasing the number of views on their post. As long as the channel is active, users can also browse featured and recent submissions.

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Facebook is experimenting with adding videos in comments

Sometimes there just ain’t an emoji to say how you feel, and Facebook have responded to this social dilemma by working on a new feature that would let you respond to a Facebook post with a video. The social network is testing out the new feature in a number of undisclosed countries, giving users the ability to post a clip to respond to a status update. A Facebook spokesperson said that this is all part of its efforts to “give people different tools to share fun, expressive content with their friends on Facebook.”

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Publishers and brands, get ready for the Snapchat algorithm

In the never-ending age of the algorithm, Snapchat are the latest bunch to jump onboard, with sources saying the photo sharing platform is in the midst of developing an algorithm that will act as the gatekeeper between publishers and their audiences. Where users currently see all the messages from accounts they follow in chronological order, the new algorithm would act as curator of content from publishers brands. A top publishing source commented on the impending change: “It’s going to be the same model Facebook has: It’s free for everybody to share content, but an algorithm will penalize some people and boost others. That’s why you don’t want to be beholden to any of these platforms or you’re suddenly stuck when the game changes.”


Read more on Digiday

Introducing Rawr: a new messaging app that lets users kick each other in the crotch and what not

Another day, another messaging platform, and this one was of particular interest to us because it allowed a few of us in the office to virtually kick each other where we otherwise would not. Apparently Rawr is “clearly designed for teens,” so call us immature, but it was a hit among a few of us for a good 15 minutes. Users create their avatars and supply their phone number, then they can chat with friends or randoms using a virtual version of themselves. Hashtags like #kick, #hug, #twerk and even #fart inspire the avatars to do exactly that, and each avatar also responds to keywords within a conversation. What’s not to like?


Read more on The Verge

Google announces video calling app Duo and messaging app Allo

Google was busy with launches yesterday, one of them being a new video calling app called Duo and the other a messaging app named Allo. Duo boasts end-to-end encrypted calls, but the feature that makes Duo stand out from other mobile-friendly video calling service including Skype, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook’s WhatsApp, is a little thing called Knock Knock. Not a joke, Knock Knock is a live video stream of the caller before the user has even picked up.

Allo is mostly like any messaging app, but with the benefits of suggested replies, including stickers and emojis. It also offers suggestions on how to respond to pictures, which may no doubt prove hilarious depending on the content.

Read more on VentureBeat and again on VentureBeat

Facebook Live Map helps users find the best stream in seconds

Facebook have today made it easier for users to take a trip around the Facebook Live world. Facebook Live Map, which lets users browse a world map to see who’s streaming at any time, and anywhere on the planet, has taken a prime position at the top of the Apps sidebar on Facebook’s webpage. After Facebook Live launched to everyone back in February, it was only a matter of time before the company provided an index of each stream as it is going on. The feature is similar to what Periscope has offered for some time. Every live stream is represented by a blue dot on a world map, and hovering on it will open up a small preview window.

Facebook Live Map

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