- The Scoop: Instagram has three new features on the way set to make sharing content more interactive. First, Instagram will now allow third party apps, like Spotify and GoPro, to post directly to Stories. Meaning users can click a share button in the Spotify and GoPro apps to post songs or content directly to their Instagram Stories. Second, select accounts and influencers, including NBA, Vogue, and BuzzFeed, Kylie Jenner, and Ariana Grande, can now create AR effects for their users using Facebook’s Camera Effects platform. AR effects will let users turn any video into an NBA “DunkCam” or use a face filter to try on Kylie Jenner’s line of lipsticks. The last update includes a video chat feature, allowing fans to talk to other users in real time through Direct Messages. These features are set to roll out in the next couple of weeks.
- The Scoop: Mark Zuckerberg has announced Facebook’s plans to introduce dating features to the platform. The Tinder-like feature will be available for users to opt-into right on the main Facebook app. Facebook will keep user’s dating information invisible to friends and will only match users with people whom they are not already friends with. Zuckerberg explains that “this is going to be for building real, long-term relationships — not just for hookups.” With over 200 million users listed as “single” on Facebook, the transition into the dating game is the platform’s next natural step.
- The Scoop: As part of a campaign to promote its line of printed textiles in the U.K., Ikea has created a line of suits made from its colorful new fabrics. Ikea partnered with London tailoring company, Savile Row, to develop the custom collection, which is styled to match existing Ikea products – like its signature Stocksundt sofa. Fans can enter for a chance to win one of the limited edition suits by sharing how they express their personality at home on the Ikea’s website.
- The Scoop: Burger King has persuaded Romanians to book flights and deliberately miss them – just to have a Whopper. With only one Burger King location in Romania, which is in the Bucharest Airport past the security check, there is limited access for people to get the signature sandwich in the area. To appease Burger King fans, the fast food chain has unveiled a new campaign that encourages Romanians to buy a cheap flight (for as low as 14 euros), go through the security check at the airport, and exchange their boarding pass for a Whopper. This “Whopper Sacrifice” can only be redeemed once the flight has taken off and Burger King claims that Romanians have already begun to cash in on this offer.
- The Scoop: Buzzfeed’s new merch comes as a recent quiz on the meaning of “IMHO” went viral. The poll, which asked fans to choose whether the acronym stands for “in my humble opinion” or “in my honest opinion”, garnered over 90,000 votes in just a day. As a result, the media outlet developed two different t-shirts that feature the different meanings so fans can take a public stance on this heated debate. The tees are now on sale for $22.95 at Buzzfeed’s online store.
- The Scoop: Google has launched the first VR Doodle on its site. The customized logo on the site was designed to commemorate French illusionist and film director Georges Méliès on the anniversary of his celebrated silent film À la conquête du pôle (The Conquest of the Pole). The interactive Doodle, called “Back to the Moon” plays out as a short film that can be viewed on mobile or through Google Cardboard and Daydream using the Google Spotlight Stories app. The short is also available as a 360-degree video on YouTube.
- The Scoop: Developers can now sell one-time “in-skill” purchases for Amazon Alexa that function as expansions of an existing skill (either as one-time purchases to unlock new content or ongoing subscriptions). With Alexa’s first monetization, developers can keep 70% of the revenue from an in-skill purchase. Amazon has also introduced Amazon Pay which lets third-party developers sell products through their Alexa skills. TGI Fridays and 1-800-Flowers are the first companies to utilize this feature, allowing users to place orders for food and flowers via voice command using Amazon-attached payment information. Despite these new features, all of Amazon’s 40,00 skills will still be free for subscribers to use.