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The week in social: Facebook Stories, Uptime, and Secret Chats

Facebook Stories is expanding to more countries

The feature that is popular on Instagram and Snapchat, Stories, came to Facebook recently with a test in Ireland, and is now rolling out to more countries in what is likely a proof of concept test before the feature sees wide availability for all Facebook users. Among the new countries feature are Chile, Greece, an Vietnam. The Stories feature has proved popular on Instagram, where 150 million users tried the feature in January. There is no official word on when it will see a global Facebook release.


Read more on The Next Web.

Snapchat launches Bitmoji shortcuts for instant chatting with friends

As a way of making it easier to chat with specific friends, Snapchat is now including Bitmoji shortcuts that can be placed on the home screens of either iOS or Android. The Bitmojis are representations of specific contacts, and tapping them launches the user into a chat with that contact, without having to go through multiple steps in the app. Snapchat has previously included Bitmoji integration throughout the app, but is seemingly expanding it in an effort to stem competition from clone apps and lookalike features.


Read more on TechCrunch.

LinkedIn adds new options to enhance profile photos

Taking a cue from other photo-editing services, LinkedIn is bringing photo edit functionality to the profile picture. Options to enhance photos include adding filters, and adjusting the crop, contrast and vignette. According to data from a LinkedIn post, having a profile photo increases views by 21 times, and number connection requests by 9 times.  As part of the post, LinkedIn also provided an infographic that shared best practices on photos that including the use of natural light, and dressing for the position desired.

More information on LinkedIn Blog.

New rumored live broadcasting service coming from Twitter

In the coming months it is possible that a new live streaming service will become available from Twitter, with a key difference. Where Periscope (Twitter’s current service) is accessible and easy to use by the average smartphone user, this new service will be aimed at the professional broadcaster. Periscope has an existing broadcaster service called Periscope Producer, but this new service which is API based will allow the broadcast to forgo having to use Periscope at all.

More information on Daily Mail.

Viber launches Snapchat competitor called Secret Chats

Viber, one of the dominating mobile chat platforms, is making a move against Snapchat with a new private messaging service called Secret Chats. Chats on this new platform have several features similar to Snapchat including messages with a finite life span, alerts when snapshots are taken, protection against message forwarding, and end-end encryption. The last feature of encryption has become increasingly popular with more and more messaging services.


Read more on Viber Blog.

YouTube brings private messaging to video watching with Uptime

A new app launched by YouTube, Uptime allows friends to watch, comment, and add emojis onto videos in a group messaging format that only others in the group can see. A user will share a video, and make comments throughout, and when someone else in the group watches the video, they can see the comments and other interactions in the same timeline as the video plays, whether simultaneously, or asynchronously. The app is only available via invite, and is only available on iOS for now, but anyone can gain an invite by using the code: PIZZA. The app is created by an experimental workshop at Google called Area 120.

More information on Area 120.