Instagram Stories adds no-frills photo-only posting from mobile web

snapchat-versus-instagram

Snap Chat Dead? Instagram Stories adds no-frills photo-only posting from the mobile web, as Instagram really wants the developing world to start using Storytelling with Brand Development.

IG Users won’t be able to use Instagram’s augmented reality masks or share videos, but starting today (Nov. 16th, 2017) mobile web users can post to Instagram Stories. Previously, mobile web users could only view Stories, which have to be created in Instagram’s native apps. But now users can snap photos, overlay text captions, and share them with friends from mobile web, as well as Save posts they find in the feed and want to revisit later.

Releasing soon in stages, everyone in the next few weeks will see a camera icon in the top left corner they can tap to shoot or upload a photo of their Story. Captions in different colors can then be laid on top. But videos and the rest of Instagram’s creative tools like doodling, stickers, location tags, polls, and more are still just in the native apps. Instagram says it plans to keep improving the creative tool offering on mobile web but it has nothing more to share right now.

If Instagram can get its Stories institutionalized worldwide before Snapchat gets there, it could lock in a long-standing audience and be the end of the Ghost.

Featured Image: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch
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Microsoft unveils special Skype version for freelancers and small business

Announcing_the_Skype_Professional_Account_Preview_blog_1Microsoft is creating a unique version of Skype for small business owners and freelancers. This is particularly useful for freelancers that might use Skype to provide tutorials, training, or consulting.

“Skype Professional Account gives you the power to do all that from one app for free during the preview. From French tutors to yoga instructors, you’ll be able to book lessons, accept payments, and give lessons all from one place, seamlessly. Plus, we’ve added an enhanced profile page to help improve your online presence and a dedicated website for your small business right in Skype. Your contacts will be able to see pertinent info about your hours and business offerings.” – Skype Blog

The new Skype version will let small business owners and freelancers book meetings and accept payments all within the same tool, instead of third-party alternatives. It’s not clear if Microsoft intends to run this as a free service once the preview is finished, but testers can sign-up to try it out over at Microsoft’s Skype homepage.

All the features work together. For example, a payment request can be sent along with a booking. You’ll also be able to see all your notes without leaving the app. In addition, you’ll be able to easily port your contacts over to the Skype Professional Account Preview desktop client while your customers and clients continue to use their familiar Skype app to work with you.

As for your customers, in addition to searching for friends and groups they want on Skype, they’ll be able to find businesses as well. That means they can now look for the kind of professional they want to work with.

 

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6 Noteworthy Reasons to Outsource Web Development

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Are you in a dilemma whether to outsource web development or get your in-house team (if you have one) to work on your website? Given the amount of appreciation and criticism you hear of this web development model, your concerns aren’t unfounded. But the fact remains, outsourcing is the preferred choice for most businesses when it comes to getting a website developed and it isn’t only about the cost advantage. Here we take a look at six noteworthy reasons for you to outsource web development project to a reputable agency.

  • Domain Knowledge – There are dozens of tools and frameworks used to create and manage websites. Not all are made the same and there are some that would offer you more advantage over others. With their superior domain knowledge, these agencies help you choose the right platform and get maximum advantage out of it.
  • Diverse Engagement Models – These agencies offer you a wide range of engagement models to suit your needs. Whether you need an MVP (minimum viable product) or looking for modular development of the site, you can hire them just the way you want.
  • Keeping Pace With Trends – Web development technology undergoes constant churn where keeping pace with the change is a demanding task. Your tech team isn’t likely to always stay updated with the change. A professional agency keeps track of emerging trend and applies the same to your project.
  • Quicker Turnaround Time – Given the kind of expertise that an offshore web development agency brings to the table they are able to considerably reduce the turnaround time. They can assign a large team to work on your big web development project and meet your tight schedules easily something that your in-house team may not be able to do.
  • Comprehensive Support – Support and maintenance for the website is as important as in the case of an automobile. With a good agency as your partner, you are assured of comprehensive support and maintenance services.
  • More Than A Website – It doesn’t end with developing and hosting your website. To create strong digital presence you will need to market your website. You will need to adopt strategies such as search engine optimization, paid search marketing, and social media marketing etc. which these agencies can provide you under a single roof.
It is important that you are cautious while choosing a web development agency for your project. There are tens of thousands of agencies it becomes important to find one that comes with proven track record and has the skills and experience to meet your needs.

 

Summary
In this article, we take a look at six noteworthy reasons you should outsource web development and why the advantage goes beyond cost.
Author:  Rohit Mishra
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Instagram adds mid-feed preview tiles for Stories, tests new stop-motion camera feature

Getting tired of the same old Instagram Stories? Get ready for stop motion, the newest feature in Instagram’s story camera.

The tool allows you to take a series of photos, string them together into a short stop-motion video and post them to your story.  You can edit the videos with filters, stickers, and texts, just like any other post to Stories. The Stop Motion feature is available inside the Story camera alongside other options like Boomerang and the recently released Superzoom tool. Stop Motion is not available for all users at the current time, but Instagram has confirmed it’s in testing.

Over a year ago, Instagram rolled out its clone of Snapchat’s popular Stories feature and has since said that its version of Stories reaches over 250 million daily users. Now, Instagram is making a change to its iOS app that makes Stories even more prominent.

While before, Stories were limited to a bar along the top of the app, Instagram is now placing much larger “preview tiles” of Stories in a user’s main feed. You’ll see the new tiles while scrolling throughout the feed, under a “Recent Stories” heading. You’ll see three rather large tiles next one another, with each one offering a quick preview of another user’s story and the option to tap to view the whole story.

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Snapchat’s new context cards let you read reviews, book reservations, and more.

Snapchat today is introducing context cards, which add contextual information to geotagged photos and images shared in public stories. Snaps added to the regional Our Story feature, or those sent with the white-text, venue-specific geo filter, will include the cards automatically. Users can swipe up on any snap that displays the word “more” and they’ll see an interactive card pop up with contextual information about the place in question. Partners supplying information for the cards include Foursquare, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, and Lyft, and will grow over time, Snaps says.

If you’ve used Google Maps, you’ve seen cards like these. They offer basic details about a venue including the address, phone number, website, and hours. Scroll down and you’ll see crowdsourced reviews from Snap’s partners. You can reserve a table using OpenTable, Resy, or Bookatable, or order rides to venues using Lyft and Uber. Some context cards will also have public stories integrated into the card, along with images contributed by the venue.

The move comes about four months after the introduction of Snap Maps, which allows you to see your friends’ locations in real time, alongside a heat map of public snaps. Maps are viewed internally as a promising new area of investment for Snap; contributions to public stories are up 40 percent since they were introduced, Axios reported last week. Context cards will help Snap build out an infrastructure for its future efforts in local products, while also likely creating new revenue opportunities down the line.

Let’s get to some of your frequently asked questions about context cards.

Are context cards good or bad?

They seem relatively good. They do not appear to be actively bad.

What’s so good about them?

They teach teenagers about important concepts, such as the importance of making reservations or checking to see whether a business is open before making their mom drive them all the way there in this traffic.

What is the worst context card I can expect to see?

Definitely the Goop cards. Goop is one of the nine launch partners, and now there will be unsolicited Goop in your snaps.

What does Elise Loehnen, chief content officer of Goop, have to say about context cards, in the promotional materials that were distributed for context cards?

“Travel is one of our most popular verticals, and a natural extension of Gwyneth’s impetus for starting Goop: to create a place where readers can find recommendations from a trusted friend, not from an anonymous, crowdsourced engine.”

Won’t context cards primarily show recommendations from anonymous, crowdsourced engines?

That is our understanding, yes.

How can I protect my teenager from Goop recommendations?

Slather them in Goop’s most hated enemies: processed cheese and Mountain Dew.

Great. Where are context cards available?

You’ll see them on both iOS and Android, assuming you live in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, or New Zealand.

 

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How to Change Google Assistant to a Male Voice.

assistant-1068x561Did you know? The Google Assistant can now be changed to sound like a male, and this is how to do it.

Changing Assistant voices on your phone

  1. Hold down on your home button to prompt the Google Assistant
  2. Tap the circular blue icon near the upper-right
  3. Touch the overflow icon in the top-right and go to Settings
  4. Go to Preferences -> Assistant voice

Changing Assistant voices on Google Home

  1. Open the Google Home app
  2. Go to More settings from the hamburger menu
  3. Preferences -> Assistant voice

Once you’re at the Assistant voice section, Voice I is the female voice and Voice II is the male one. Tapping the blue speaker icon next to each one will play a preview for how it sounds, and touching anywhere else on either voice option will select it as your new default. The male voice doesn’t change anything about how the Google Assistant works, but it is nice to have some added customization over how Google’s AI sounds when interacting with it.

That’s it. It’s super easy to change (and super easy to change back) if you want to try something new.

A heads up: The feature isn’t available everywhere just yet, so if you’re outside the United States you might have to wait a bit before it will become available for your device.

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How to clear your iPhone’s storage space for iOS 11

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iOS 11, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, is rolling out on Tuesday, and it’s bringing with it a bunch of new and improved features.

There you are, pent up with anticipation of upgrading to the new iOS 11 when BAM! You’re hit with a “Not enough storage” notification on your iPhone or iPad.

A full iPhone is less common these days than it used to be when Apple offered iPhones with a pathetic 16GB of storage. But even if you have a 32, 64, 128, or even a 256GB iPhone, those apps and photos/4K videos can sure pile up pretty fast.

If you get the infamous “Not enough storage” notification when you’re trying to upgrade to iOS 11, check out what you can do to free up some space:

1. Try upgrading to iOS 11 by connecting your iPhone to your computer and using iTunes.

1. Try upgrading to iOS 11 by connecting your iPhone to you computer and using iTunes.

Using iTunes to upgrade to the new iOS uses up less space than installing it straight from your iPhone.

Open iTunes > click the small iPhone symbol towards the top left > then click Check for Update. If the update is available, go ahead and update to iOS 11.

2. If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to free up space on your iPhone. See which apps are using up the most space and decide which ones you can delete.

2. If that doesn't work, you'll have to free up space on your iPhone. See which apps are using up the most space and decide which ones you can delete.

3. If you haven’t already, download Google Photos to store all your photos in the cloud, then delete them all from your phone.

3. If you haven't already, download Google Photos to store all your photos in the cloud, then delete them all from your phone.

Google

This is a must for anyone who often runs out of space on their iPhones. Google Photos offers free and unlimited storage of all your photos and videos taken with your iPhone.

Once you upload all your photos to Google Photos, you can delete all those that are in your iPhone’s storage by tapping the settings button (three horizontal lines on the top left of the app), then tapping “Free up space.”

Don’t worry, all your photos will be available from the cloud as long as you have a data connection, and you can access them from any device where you can log in to your Google account.

4. Delete social media apps that are taking up a bunch of storage space, then re-install them (and sign back in).

Social media apps like Facebook and Snapchat pile up a bunch of extra data over time that doesn’t really affect the app’s experience or performance. Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of that extra data is by deleting the app altogether, then re-installing the app and signing back in.

5. People who like to store their music on their phones won’t like it, but they may have to consider a music streaming service if their iPhone storage keeps filling up.

5. People who like to store their music on their phones won't like it, but they may have to consider a music streaming service if their iPhone storage keeps filling up.

Apple

Those who store music files on their phones are pretty stubborn. Yet, the reality is that you’ll have to at least consider a music streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music if your iPhone keeps running out of storage.

6. Delete messages in your messaging apps.

Messages in your various messaging apps can take up a surprising amount of space if they contain a lot of GIFs, photos, audio recording, or videos. Go through your messages and start deleting those you don’t mind getting rid of.

You can save photos or videos by saving them to your iPhone’s Photo Gallery, then opening the Google Photos app to upload them to Google Photos.

7. Make your iPhone delete messages automatically after 30 days.

7. Make your iPhone delete messages automatically after 30 days.

iPhones are set to keep your messages forever, and they can also take up a lot of space with photos and videos. You can make your iPhone delete messages 30 days after the last message was sent or received automatically by going into Settings > Messages > Keep Messages > set to 30 days.

8. Try some weird tricks we found that help clear up storage space on your iPhone.

You can try the iPhone backup and restore method with iTunes to free up some random storage space on your iPhone that you didn’t know you had. I freed up six gigabytes of storage using this method.

One note about this method: I’ve had some trouble using this method recently, as iTunes keeps telling me my computer doesn’t have enough storage to restore my iPhone’s backup. That seems highly unlikely, as I have over 250GB of free storage on my computer. Perhaps you’ll have better luck with this method.

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