Cassandra Megraw, 18 Nov 2018

The week in social: Messenger viewing, Instagram shopping, and YouTube VR

Ready to ‘Watch Videos Together’ on Facebook Messenger?

We’re all familiar with co-working, but have you ever heard of co-procrastinating? It looks like Facebook Messenger is trying to make it a thing, with the chat platform now internally testing simultaneous co-viewing of videos. It means that your video viewing can now be peppered with commentary/insults/emojis from your favorite vid-watching friends. Prepare for your Facebook Messenger time (and the platform’s revenue opportunities) to go up, but for mindless viewing experiences to go down. This just-spotted offering is an extension of Facebook’s Watch Party – which was released this past summer – and will likely feel even more natural through Messenger rather than on Group or Event pages as is currently offered.

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Read more at TechCrunch

You can now message businesses straight through Google Maps

One of Google’s main MOs is connecting people with anything and everything they want and need. It’s now taken this spirit to Google Maps, allowing users to get in touch with businesses directly through the platform. To use this feature, just tap on the Menu button, then the Messages button. This is where you’ll be able to see your messages with businesses without leaving the app. Google says that the goal is to help businesses “stay in touch with their customers in real time and on the go.” The update is available to Android and iOS users in the U.S.

Read more on the Google Blog

Facebook’s working to help job-seekers live their best lives

For those looking to land a new job for the new year, Facebook’s got your back with some updated career tools and a new website. Beyond posting jobs to their pages, businesses can now also post them in Groups, and the platform’s Mentorship tool now makes it easier for people to choose a mentor based on specific goals and interests. The tool will also provide prompts to keep mentor and mentee connected and chatting regularly.
When it comes to brand-new offerings, Facebook is launching Learn with Facebook – a site that will provide courses, case studies, insider tips and resources to help users develop the digi-centric skills needed in today’s workforce. Facebook commented: “To help make Learn with Facebook’s lessons as accessible as possible, we’re partnering with Goodwill Community Foundation to offer this training across the US. We’ll work closely with them to develop training resources for individuals of all backgrounds and education levels.”

screen-shot-2018-11-16-at-1-25-43-pmRead more at Engadget

Instagram is expanding its on-the-scroll shopping options

There’s one thing about the holidays that never changes: the shopping. One thing that is changing though is how we shop. Instagram has added new offerings to its platform to help us rethink the experience. One feature is the Shopping collection, which is a helpful lil’ tool to help us build gift lists right inside the platform by tapping product tags on our feed or in Stories and then tapping the new Save icon. Instagram has also redesigned its shop tab, meaning businesses can include a list of every product they have featured – this will not only link back to the post but call out the price as well. Lastly, shopping features have made their way to in-feed videos, and a tap on the shopping tag will show the video’s product list. With that – happy scrolling/video-viewing/shopping/holidays!

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Read more at Engadget

Facebook takes to TV to advertise its video chat device, Portal

Facebook doesn’t always spend big on TV advertising, but when it does, it’s to advertise its new video chat device, Portal. With its entry level price of $199, Portal lets users make and receive video calls, share photos and messages, access Facebook Watch and YouTube, as well as communicate with Amazon’s Alexa. Between Oct 1 and Nov 13, the platform was named one of the top 20 TV ad buyers in the U.S., spending $48.6 million on TV advertising, almost all of which going toward getting Portal onto people’s screens, with the ultimate goal of getting it into their homes. During this time, Facebook outspent big advertisers Paramount, Walmart and Samsung. Facebook joins fellow tech platforms Apple and Google in the big-spending TV advertising realm, and Alan Wolk, lead analyst at TVRev had this to say about the move: “As much as people would like to say that no one watches TV, even the most pessimistic numbers will tell you that three-quarters of all households still have some type of pay-TV subscription. And if you’re looking for people over a certain age, that reach is even higher. That’s still something.”

Read more at DigiDay

YouTube VR launches for the Oculus Go

The future of reality is virtual, and YouTube is getting in on the action, launching its virtual reality app on the Oculus Go mobile VR headset. Available in the Oculus Store, YouTube VR supports 360-degree video and standard video in a VR theater, and also includes social features so users can watch vids with virtual friends. While the app was originally only available on smartphones, this move solidifies YouTube’s place in the VR ecosystem and we’re watching closely to see what comes next.

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Read more at The Verge