Roblox Targets Advertisers, Diverse Users with New Features

As it seeks to build-out a metaverse, online game platform and game creation system Roblox is courting brands as well as older users (54 percent of the platform’s daily active users are said to be age 12 and below). The popular gaming platform is adding facial capture for users and offering advertisers digital billboards and links to branded destinations. Roblox has been trying to divide its users by age, and added authentication for those 13 and above last September for access to more adult content. As part of the content diversification critical to both initiatives, Roblox is increasing its Game Fund to $35 million. Continue reading Roblox Targets Advertisers, Diverse Users with New Features

Meta Explores New Monetization Features for Its Social Apps

Meta Platforms is assessing “possible paid features” for its social apps, including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, according to an internal employee memo. The initiative, under a freshly minted division called New Monetization Experiences, led by Pratiti Raychoudhury, represents Meta’s first coordinated move into paid features across social platforms serving an estimated 3.65 billion monthly users worldwide, per Statista. It comes at a time when Meta is under pressure to increase revenue, which has taken a hit from Apple’s ad-tracking changes and a general softening in digital ad spending. Continue reading Meta Explores New Monetization Features for Its Social Apps

Collectibles Come to Social Shopping via eBay Live Platform

E-commerce company eBay is launching eBay Live, a live shopping platform that lets people browse, chat and purchase items from anywhere in the world using beta technology that combines entertainment with instant purchasing. The first series will offer a curated selection of rare trading cards from top eBay seller Bleecker Trading, and will be hosted by trading card enthusiast DJ Skee. The new platform is designed for social shopping, “allowing our community to come together over shared interests and merchandise,” explained eBay vice president of collectibles, electronics and home Dawn Block. Continue reading Collectibles Come to Social Shopping via eBay Live Platform

Spotify Debuts Live Streaming In-App, Rebrands Greenroom

Spotify is integrating live audio capabilities from its Spotify Greenroom app into the flagship Spotify service and rebranding the feature as “Spotify Live.” The company says the change “reflects our belief in the future of live-audio creators and live experiences being provided to all 406 million Spotify listeners around the globe.” Spotify Live will continue to live as a standalone app, as well as providing live-stream functionality within Spotify for music and podcasts. Beginning this week, Spotify will enable in-app live streaming for its original programming while independent creators can stream live using the separate app. Continue reading Spotify Debuts Live Streaming In-App, Rebrands Greenroom

Twitter Will Begin Testing a Controversial Edit Button Feature

Subscribers to the premium Twitter Blue will soon be able to test an edit feature, according to Twitter, which says a tweet edit button has for years been its most-requested UI update. Speculation that the feature would be added has run rampant since Elon Musk, a vocal proponent, announced his significant investment in the company. Following news that Musk will join its board, Twitter revealed that it has been working on such a feature since last year and testing will begin in the coming months. However, the feature is somewhat controversial. Continue reading Twitter Will Begin Testing a Controversial Edit Button Feature

Facebook Gaming Inundated by Spam, Strange Infomercials

Facebook Gaming has been invaded by spammers and infomercials, according to recent reports that found Ukrainian war footage and video clips featuring individuals hawking foot callus removal kits and diet pill purveyors posted on what was supposed to be Meta Platforms’ answer to Amazon’s Twitch. Some of the videos masquerading as “live” featured up to 11 hours of looped recordings. In late 2021, Facebook Gaming listed seven such spurious accounts in the Top 10, sometimes attracting as many as 50,000 simultaneous viewers, according to data analytics firm Stream Hatchet. Continue reading Facebook Gaming Inundated by Spam, Strange Infomercials

Clubhouse Fights to Retain Share in Now-Competitive Market

The social audio boom that grew out of COVID-19 lockdowns has resulted in a reshuffling of players in the chat app space, as Clubhouse fights to maintain its once-dominant market share against competition from newer entries like Twitter Spaces, Spotify Greenroom and Facebook audio chat. Discord and platforms focused on gaming and NFTs also offer audio conversation features, and Amazon is reportedly working on a similar feature. Founded in 2020, Clubhouse initially had only Discord to contend with, resulting in early growth and a funding round valued at $4 billion. Continue reading Clubhouse Fights to Retain Share in Now-Competitive Market

Twitter Offers New Auto Generate Caption Feature for Videos

New videos uploaded to Twitter will now have the ability to automatically generate captions and subtitles. This new feature is available on Android, iOS and the web version of the popular social platform. In the mobile app, auto-generated captions will appear when the videos are on mute; meanwhile, users can turn the captions on or off with the CC button in the web version. Further, mobile users can keep the captions in unmuted mode by adjusting the accessibility setting in their smartphones. However, Twitter is not allowing users to correct or change the captions before posting the clips. Continue reading Twitter Offers New Auto Generate Caption Feature for Videos

TikTok Reveals New Content Creation Tools, Tests Live Studio

TikTok is introducing new camera and editing tools, a collaboration with Giphy, and support for 1080p video. The platform is also taking on Twitch and YouTube with TikTok Live Studio. The Windows program is currently in a test phase, allowing creators who download it to their desktop to stream live from the host computer or a connected device such as a smartphone or game console. This could keep TikTok fans in-app for live streaming, eliminating the need for third-party broadcast software like Streamlabs or OBS Studio. Continue reading TikTok Reveals New Content Creation Tools, Tests Live Studio

Facebook Groups Launches New Tools to Empower Creators

Meta is offering new tools for Facebook Groups to help admins further develop and engage the communities they manage. New features introduced at last week’s Facebook Communities Summit include subgroups, fee-based subscription groups, real-time chat for moderators, personalization tools and community fundraiser enhancements. Group admins will be able to customize the look and feel of groups, including greetings, colors, fonts and backgrounds, as well as the emoji available for content reactions. Facebook said the changes combine “the best of Pages and Groups into one place,” while making it easier, safer and more fun to collaborate. Continue reading Facebook Groups Launches New Tools to Empower Creators

Spotify Introduces Live Audio App and Plans Its Creator Fund

Music streaming service Spotify launched its live audio app, Greenroom, for iOS and Android. Built on Locker Room — the app focused on sports content created by Betty Labs and acquired by Spotify in March — the Greenroom app is similar to Clubhouse in that it allows users to host live conversations about music, sports and other topics. Branded with Spotify colors and a new logo, Greenroom features native recordings, which can be distributed as podcasts. Although users can sign in with Spotify credentials, it is not required to use the app. Continue reading Spotify Introduces Live Audio App and Plans Its Creator Fund

Google Expands Workspace Features and Opens to All Users

Google is providing full access to Workspace (formerly G Suite) for its 3+ billion existing users in consumer, enterprise and education markets. Users turn on Google Chat in Gmail to enable the full experience. Although Google Drive and Docs have already been free, Workspace brings features such as smart suggestions in emails and documents. Google is also debuting Google Workspace Individual, a paid version aimed at small business owners, offering “booking services, professional video meetings, personalized email marketing” and more. Continue reading Google Expands Workspace Features and Opens to All Users

Sixty Percent of Instagram Users Link Accounts to Messenger

More than 60 percent of eligible Instagram users have enabled interoperability between that platform and Facebook Messenger, said Facebook vice president and head of Messenger Stan Chudnovsky, who added the rate is “beating our expectations in terms of how fast and how many people are upgrading.” “People are definitely buying into the convenience,” he noted. The cross-app communication began rolling out in September 2020. Facebook plans to add end-to-end encryption but neither app is expected to be encrypted until next year. Continue reading Sixty Percent of Instagram Users Link Accounts to Messenger

Facebook Reveals Audio Products, Including Clubhouse Rival

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced an upcoming suite of new audio products including a push into podcasting and Live Audio Rooms, an audio-only version of the Rooms videoconferencing product, intended to rival the popular Clubhouse audio app. Live Audio Rooms will roll out this summer as a test to public figures and groups. Users will be able to record and distribute their conversations and eventually charge for access to the rooms via a one-time fee or subscription. Meanwhile, Clubhouse closed a new Series C funding round. Continue reading Facebook Reveals Audio Products, Including Clubhouse Rival

Twitter to Launch Chat Alternative to Clubhouse Next Month

Twitter will debut Spaces, a rival to audio-chat app Clubhouse, in April according to a tweet in a public Twitter Space audio room by host Alex (@akkhosh). Twitter will also soon allow anyone to host a Twitter Spaces room. Twitter Spaces was released in beta on the Android platform late in 2020. The product will roll out for Android and iOS; Twitter is also considering support for using music and allowing tweeting in Spaces. In addition, Twitter is working on a Spaces “Tip Jar” to let users donate to content creators with donations. Continue reading Twitter to Launch Chat Alternative to Clubhouse Next Month