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Happy Friday! Here’s a roundup of this week’s industry news:
Instagram increased its maximum video length to a full minute on Tuesday, compared to its previous 15 second cap. The extension was previously offered to advertisers as an exclusive two months ago, but is now available to the average consumer for the first time. Updated phones can also stitch together videos from their camera roll into a full clip. According to the company, users have spent 40 percent more time watching videos on Instagram in the past six months. With a new video format, the app has the opportunity to become a stronger platform for live event updates.
Snapchat Takes On Facebook with Huge New Upgrade - Vanity Fair
Snapchat is challenging Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp with its newest in-app update, Chat 2.0. By swiping on a friend’s name, users can make audio calls through the chat screen, as well as submit video and audio messages. The update also offers a private FaceTime-like video feature, and a variety of messaging stickers. The new update puts Snapchat in direct competition with established messaging applications like Facebook and WhatsApp. Compared to its early years labeled as a “hookup application” by the public, Snapchat’s newest updates are validating its rise to a top, widely used social media platform.
Amazon Prime members are reordering everyday items with a push of a button. The Dash Button is a Wi-Fi enabled clicker that users press to restock items like toilet paper, batteries, coffee or chips. Amazon recently expanded the collection to over 100 brand-specific clickers, due to a 75 percent growth in consumer usage the past three months. Amazon announced the expansion on Dash Button’s launch anniversary, March 31. In its original release, consumers believed the clicker was an early April Fools Day joke.
How to check your Uber passenger rating, without embarrassment - The Washington Post
Ever wonder what Uber drivers think of passengers? With the application’s newest update, riders can finally see their average passenger rating. After entering the Uber application, press “settings.” Tap “help,” “account,” and finally “I’d like to know my rating.” The score should appear on the screen. Previously, users would have to ask the driver about their average score. Uber is trying to mitigate future situations like this by developing in-app support for riders, according to the company’s recent blog post.
The U.S. State Department landed in hot water on Thursday after composing a controversial spring break tip for travelers. The tweet from @TravelGov states, “Not a ‘10’ in the US? Then not a 10 overseas. Beware of being lured into buying expensive drinks or worse - being robbed. #springbreakingbadly.” The “10” refers to a 1-10 attractive scale, an interesting metric choice for a State Department. After the tweet gained traction, @TravelGov deleted it. However, major stations like Fox, BBC, CBS and ABC obtained screenshots of the original tweet and shared it on major news channels. The State Department has released an apology over Twitter stating, “We see many Americans fall victim to scams each year & want all to be careful.” Since the blunder, @TravelGov gained 4,000 new followers.
Did you read any interesting tech or business news this week? Tell us about it with @WalkerSands!