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Cheat Sheet: December 9-13

Posted 13 December 2013 12:00 AM by Richard Kim

Want to catch up with what happened in the digital world this week? Our weekly Cheat Sheet fills you in on everything you missed while you scrambled to meet deadlines and put out fires. 

Read about the arrival of Instagram Direct, how Twitter revamped its messaging feature, what new feature Facebook has launched for video and why Square created a thinner credit card reader. 

  1. Instagram launches Instagram Direct 

At an event that was held in New York City this week, Instagram unveiled the launching of Instagram Direct, a new commenting feature that offers private photo sharing and messaging for both iOS and Android devices. This system allows users to send text, photo and video messages directly to a friend or a specific group of people — up to 15 people. Instagrammers cannot send text-only messages to each other; rather, users are required to send pictures in order to the start the chat function. From a branding perspective, companies will be able to leverage this new layer of engagement to create personalized conversations while enhancing the user experience.

  2. Twitter adds photo sharing to direct messages 

 Similar to messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Snapchat, Twitter has upgraded its services to allow users to share and receive images in direct messages on both iPhone and Android applications. The new version of Twitter also includes the ability to swipe through different timelines within the app, a new Messages tab located on the bottom navigation bar and the option to turn on notifications for individual users on Android. Being able to send direct messages, seen only by recipients, provides brands with the opportunity to tailor content that is sent to consumers. 

  3. Facebook brings auto-playing videos to mobile 

 Facebook has finally rolled out auto-playing videos to both mobile devices and the Web. Previously, users would play videos by clicking on the play buttons, but with the new auto-play feature for videos, Facebook members will simply scroll over the video to play it.  The new feature is currently limited to videos on profiles, verified people pages and band pages. For advertisers, auto-play videos will provide the opportunity to make their ads a lot more noticeable, which may enhance the user experience. 

  4. Square upgrades to a thinner credit card Reader 

 Square has redesigned its credit card Reader, making it thinner and more efficient for both consumers and retailers. With a new read head and a redesigned card-gripping spring, the Square Reader is now 45 percent thinner than its predecessor — making it as thin as the iPhone. In addition, the company has created a custom chip that not only runs all of Square’s card data functions but has made it so that the Reader is compatible with a wider array of smartphones and tablets. The new Square Reader is expected to be in approximately 30,000 retail stores nationwide starting next year.





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