- The Scoop: Instagram now provides more control than ever for users who send photos using the Instagram Direct camera: users can decide whether recipients can only view their photo or video once, replay it temporarily or see a permanent thumbnail of it in the chat log. Previously, all photo and video messages were temporarily available for replay before disappearing forever with no other options available – a limitation that still remains true for Instagram competitor Snapchat. Instagram hopes that this update will boost usage of Direct, and ultimately help it beat Snapchat in the ongoing battle for the most users utilizing direct messaging features.
- The Scoop: We have seen Instagram mimic Snapchat features in the past, but in a brief role reversal, Snapchat has upgraded its platform with a feature that was first seen on Instagram – GIF stickers powered by Giphy available on Stories. The animated stickers are loaded in the Sticker Picker alongside existing Snapchat options to spice up Stories. Additionally, Snapchat has added tabs to the Friends and Discover screens, which allows users to organize Stories, Group Chats and Discover subscriptions as they see fit. The Snapchat platform will continue to introduce updates that make the user experience as simple and engaging as possible.
- The Scoop: As Stage 2 in Facebook’s pursuit to integrate 3D as a native part of the Facebook ecosystem, the platform now supports the industry standard gITF 2.0 file format for 3D images, allowing for textures, lighting and realistic rendering of rough or shiny objects that can be viewed from all angles with the drag of a mouse. Stage 1 took place back in October, when Facebook debuted interactive 3D models in News Feed. With this new update, developers, brands and users to can create, share and interact with 3D posts on News Feed and Facebook Spaces, the platform’s social VR hangout app. The platform’s Stage 3 is in the works, which will take these 3D objects into AR. .
- The Scoop: Snapchat’s latest viral filter featured a life-size AR Michael Jordan to promote the new Air Jordan III Tinker sneakers. The sneakers, officially coming out in March, were sold exclusively via a QR code at the Staples Center during NBA All-Star Game weekend. All-Star Game attendees were able to interact with a 3D AR world lens filter of Michael Jordan circa 1988, who could be tapped to instantly change into this year’s All-Star uniform and the new AJ III Tinkers. By scanning the exclusive QR code that was revealed later in the game, users were taken into the Snap Store powered by Shopify, and sneakers were sold out in 23 minutes (the number of sneakers is undisclosed). Darkstore, a company that specializes in offering ecommerce companies same-day delivery, enabled buyers to receive the sneakers in under two hours.
- The Scoop: Toyota launched the Instagram account @SeeLikeMenna to allow users to see through the eyes of Menna Fitzpatrick, an 18-year-old visually impaired Para alpine skier. The account is part of Toyota’s “Start Your Impossible” campaign and features photos and video clips with a 3% vision filter from Fitzpatrick’s vantage point. Viewers can get a real sense of what it’s like to have little to no vision during her training, whether speeding down snowy courses or running late at night or early in the morning. Toyota has also produced a 60-second introductory film with no filter.
- The Scoop: To reflect its tagline, “Good things take time,” New Zealand brand Mainland Cheese has released a promotional campaign centered around something else that takes quite a bit of time: a 2000-piece jigsaw puzzle. The puzzle is a limited edition “voucher” that people were able to apply for in December. The prize for customers who complete the puzzle is a 20kg lump of vintage cheese. Thus far, 10 of the puzzles have been completed, with the fastest completion time clocking being 45 hours.