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SOCIAL

Instagram now lets you share live videos through direct messages

  • The Scoop: Instagram announced that its direct messages will now support live videos – they can send their own, as well as share ones they’re watching with a group of friends. The latter is designed to compete with existing “co-watching” applications like Google’s Uptime, which enables users to co-watch YouTube Videos. Instagram’s new feature is unique in its ability to give users a way to watch live videos together.

YouTube now properly displays vertical videos on iOS

  • The Scoop: YouTube now allows iOS users to view vertical videos in full-screen mode: a capability that has been available on Android for two years now. Previously, vertically-filmed videos uploaded to Youtube were encoded with black bars on both sides. Moving forward, vertical videos can be uploaded in their original form without the black bars and viewed vertically in full-screen on both iOS and Android.

Instagram will now add ‘Recommended’ posts to your feed

  • The Scoop: Instagram is currently rolling out a “Recommended for You” section that features posts based on those that have been liked by accounts users follow. With this update, Instagram aims to expose users to relevant content that may typically go undiscovered. This new section will appear on home feeds after users have scrolled to the end of their timelines, and will include three to five posts. Users cannot disable this feature.

Why Facebook just signed a deal with Universal Music

  • The Scoop: Universal Music Group has licensed music to Facebook, enabling users to legally use the music company’s songs in uploaded videos on the app. This capability is also available on Instagram and Oculus. In the past, users have included music in videos without permission, requiring Facebook to delete the songs from the videos. Terms and timeline of the agreement have not yet been confirmed. Universal Music Group’s artists include Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Carrie Underwood, Kanye West and Katy Perry.

Snapchat may require users to sit through its ads

  • The Scoop: While most Snapchat users are quick to skip advertisements, the app is now considering making views mandatory for at least three seconds. Snapchat has avoided hosting intrusive ad experiences in the past, but the potential for ad growth – the source of almost all of Snapchat’s revenue – may outweigh the sacrifices in user experience.

MARKETING

Honda’s heartwarming AR holiday card brought messages of love to kids who needed it most

  • The Scoop: Honda partnered with the Children’s Hospital of Orange County in California to provide a magical AR holiday experience for kids battling cancer. The video shows each kid interacting with a personalized physical card using an iPad, when the room is transformed into an AR winter wonderland. Hospital staff and hundreds of contributors responded to an invite via Facebook and Instagram to send holiday messages that were included in the scene. Honda will donate $1 up to a total of $100,000 to both the CHOC and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation for every Facebook “Like” or “Love” the campaign video receives to support patients and their families this season.

CREATIVE

Flight crews on Air New Zealand are testing out Google’s live-translation headphones

  • The Scoop: Air New Zealand is now testing out the live-translation function of Google’s wireless Bluetooth Pixel Buds headphones. Flight attendants, flight crew and airline staff are being hooked up to these headphones, which can instantly translate up to 40 different languages. The airline, which is the first global airline to test this software, aims to discover if translation technology can help airline operations, like check-in, boarding, and in-flight services, run more seamlessly to ultimately deliver a better customer experience.

Audi wrote a script for websites to install to block visitors who are driving

  • The Scoop: Audi has developed the Audi Safety Code – free computer coding for scripts that any website can add. The code analyzes GPS data to determine if visitors are in vehicles traveling over 20 kilometers an hour (about 12.4 miles an hour), and users must confirm they are passengers and not drivers to continue on the site. This campaign is a direct and memorable method of reminding drivers to be safe. Unlike previous apps that users are expected to download, the Audi Safety Code puts this important message in the hands of developers and website hosts.