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


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.


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.


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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What the FTC’s latest endorsement disclosure actions mean for marketers

Regulatory body addresses influencers’ responsibility in making disclosures and the sufficiency of platforms’ branded-content labeling tools.


First, the FTC announced its first-ever settlement with social media influencers over a failure to properly disclose a brand endorsement deal. While the organization only penalized the influencers that also owned the brand at the center of the campaign, the settlement serves as notice to other influencers that the FTC is no longer only holding brands and the companies representing influencers responsible for not following its disclosure guidelines, according to several experts that specialize in advertising and marketing law.

“In the past, they went after [brands such as] Lord and Taylor, Sony, Warner Bros. and Machinima. This is the first time that they’ve gone beyond that in the food chain and basically said that the influencers could be held responsible,” said Linda Goldstein, a partner at law firm BakerHostetler. She had represented Machinima when the digital video network settled deceptive advertising charges with the FTC in 2015 after several YouTube stars hired by Machinima to promote Microsoft’s Xbox One gaming console failed to disclose that the videos were sponsored.

As further evidence of its broadened scope, the FTC sent letters to 21 influencers regarding Instagram posts that appeared to endorse a brand but insufficiently communicated any business relationship between the brand and the influencer. The FTC had previously sent letters to these influencers earlier this year to educate them on the need to follow the FTC’s endorsement guidelines when publishing branded posts on social networks.

The FTC’s latest warnings

Those 21 warning letters and more than 90 educational letters also provide insight into the specific language and placement of disclosures that the FTC has in its crosshairs as insufficient and may eventually take action against. In particular, the FTC reiterates that simply thanking a brand “is probably inadequate” and that disclosures made in a post’s caption should appear within the first few lines of the caption, as opposed to requiring people to click “more” to see it hidden below the fold.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the FTC lays out the groundwork with these educational letters and these warning letters and then further on down the line, once they can say ‘We’ve established this baseline and everyone should be aware of it,’ then I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing some actions,” said Gonzalo Mon, a partner at law firm Kelley Drye who specializes in advertising and marketing law.

“The FTC does show what it’s going to do with its warning letters,” said Allison Fitzpatrick, a partner in law firm Davis & Gilbert’s advertising, marketing, and promotions practice group. For example, in 2009, the FTC updated its endorsement guidelines for the first time in 29 years to take into account endorsements made by bloggers. A little more than six months later, the regulator closed its first investigation of blogger-brand endorsement deals by issuing a warning letter to Ann Taylor but deciding not to fine the brand.

Platforms’ disclosure tools ‘not necessarily’ sufficient

Coinciding with the FTC’s latest warnings, the commission has updated the FAQ-style explainer of its endorsement guidelines. Among the more notable additions are the mention of Snapchat’s and Instagram’s ephemeral Stories features — that may disappear after 24 hours but are not lost on the FTC as distribution outlets for branded content — as well as the FTC addressing platform-provided tools that seek to standardize branded-content disclosures. These tools may have offered comfort to brands concerned over how their influencers should properly disclose an endorsement on a platform like Facebook, Instagram or YouTube, but the FTC had not come out and endorsed these tools itself. And it still has not.

A new question added to the FTC’s explainer asks whether platforms’ built-in disclosure tools suffice in meeting the regulator’s standard. “Not necessarily,” according to the FTC. Without naming names, the FTC proceeds to describe two platform-provided disclosure tools that sound similar to Instagram’s and YouTube’s:

For example, on a photo platform, users paging through their streams will likely look at the eye-catching images. Therefore, a disclosure placed above a photo may not attract their attention. Similarly, a disclosure in the lower corner of a video could be too easy for users to overlook.

Earlier this year, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook and originated as a photo platform, began testing a tool for influencers to attach a “Paid promotion with [brand name]” label above their posts; Facebook rolled out a similar branded-content labeling tool last year for posts appearing in people’s photo-and-video-dominant news feeds. Also last year, Google’s YouTube introduced a tool for creators to have the text “Includes paid promotion” appear in the lower corner during the first 10 seconds of a video.

“We believe ‘Paid partnership with’ clearly describes when creators and their business partners have entered into a commercial relationship to post on Instagram. We have worked with industry groups and consumer advocates and will continue to engage with external groups to improve and refine our tools. We want this tool to offer greater transparency for the Instagram community and present a consistent look and feel for branded content on the platform, which is good for every Instagrammer,” said an Instagram spokesperson in an emailed statement.

In response to a request for comment, a YouTube spokesperson cited its policies informing creators that they are responsible for complying with local laws, regulations and its own guidelines.

Facebook did not respond to questions sent on Tuesday asking whether the company had discussed the adequacy of its tool with the FTC and whether it plans to make any changes to the tool to make it more clearly sufficient in light of the updated document.

Lack of approval does not equal disapproval

The FTC appears to be hedging, likely frustrating marketers. However, while it’s not offering these tools a seal of approval, it is unlikely to take action anytime soon against brands and influencers that use these tools to make their disclosures, according to legal experts. More likely the FTC is emphasizing that brands cannot be too careful and influencers cannot be too explicit when it comes to communicating an endorsement.

“These tools aren’t completely baked yet. The FTC is not going to bless something that hasn’t been completely rolled out,” said Mon.

The FTC “is intentionally being vague, but it can be interpreted as at least telling marketers’ influencers not to rely on the [tools provided by the] platform,” said Fitzpatrick.

But that doesn’t mean that brands and influencers that have used these tools to make disclosures in the past should fear an impending letter from the FTC.

“Typically, the FTC will go after the most egregious violators. So I don’t think that they want to get into an issue and potentially a litigated issue where someone is embracing a widely used industry standard, has a disclosure that may be pretty damn good but from the FTC’s perspective could be more clear and conspicuous,” said Adam Solomon, a partner at law firm Michelman & Robinson, LLP, who focuses on advertising, digital marketing, promotions and compliance.

Instead of the regulator “rushing out to penalize or bring action against any brand that believes it is making sufficient disclosures with the tools Instagram gave them,” Fitzpatrick said it’s likely that the FTC will use the updated document to undergird discussions with the platforms about how to make their tools’ labels more sufficient and to underscore to brands the need for clearer disclosures and more active involvement in ensuring those disclosures are made.

How brands should respond

All of the legal experts interviewed for this article asserted that the more active a brand is in taking responsibility over the influencers it hires to ensure they make the proper disclosures, the more forgiving the FTC will be when evaluating any examples that run afoul of its guidelines.

“The FTC does give consideration to what they call ‘mitigating factors.’ In this post-Machinima world, what’s most important to the commission is whether a brand actually has proper procedures in place to monitor for compliance,” said Goldstein.

Joseph Lewczak, a partner at Davis & Gilbert, prescribed in an email the actions marketers should take following the FTC’s most recent moves: “The main takeaways from these most recent actions are the same takeaways that I’ve been talking to my clients about for years:”

  1. Have a contract with your influencers that requires disclosure.
  2. Train influencers on expected disclosures. Better yet, provide the disclosures you want influencers using and ensure it’s easily understood and posted in a clear and conspicuous manner.
  3. Monitor what your influencers are doing.
  4. Correct failures to disclose or terminate influencers who are not compliant.


Author: Tim Peterson

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Google Chrome will turn off autoplay videos with sound to improve your browsing experience

It’s not a secret that nowadays our browsing experience can be extremely frustrating due to those autoplay videos which suddenly pop up on the page and don’t want to go away, even if you try to scroll down.

The worst part of the experience, perhaps, is the audio. You’re listening to your Spotify list when the sound of an explosion from a random Hollywood disaster movie bursts into your ears, and you have to frenetically chase the Chrome tab responsible for the noise.

In order to at least partly solve the autoplay video problem, and make Chrome more user-friendly, Google wants to give control over audio back to users.

From January 2018, with Chrome 64, autoplay will work only when either there’s no sound in the video or the user has shown interest in the clip.

“This will allow autoplay to occur when users want media to play, and respect users’ wishes when they don’t,” Google’s Software Engineer Mounir Lamouri said in a blog post.

“These changes will also unify desktop and mobile web behavior, making web media development more predictable across platforms and browsers.”

In addition, Chrome 63 will have a new option for users to “completely disable audio for individual sites”.

“This site muting option will persist between browsing sessions, allowing users to customize when and where audio will play,” Google said.

“These changes will give users greater control over media playing in their browser while making it easier for publishers to implement autoplay where it benefits the user.”

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How to Successfully Build a Content Marketing Strategy


In the modern day, brand success entirely depends on content marketing. For this reason, brands are competing hard to come up with a better content marketing strategy that will boost their brand reputation, improve on SEO and guarantee effective social media presence.

Getting entry into this field is so simple that it only needs you to marshal some original ideas and executing them in the most decent way possible. However, you need to come to terms with the fact that you need the right strategy and a good one in that case, for you to be successful. According to Susan Friesen, Web Development Specialist/Business & Marketing Consultant, online business is all about dealing with strangers who need to know whether we understand their problem, they can trust us and if the solutions we offer can help solve their problems before they even think of doing business with us.

In simple terms, that is how crucial content marketing is in the growth of the business through increased web traffic, the growth of mailing list and increased sales just to mention but a few.

Why do you need a formal strategy?

You may have the whims and writing capabilities but trust me, these are not enough to guarantee you the success you need. Whether you are a start up with your content marketing or have been using the same strategies for some time, you need to take your game a notch higher than ever before.

Don’t forget, there is more competition coming up every single day- according to Content Marketing Institute, more organizations have recorded more content marketing than ever before. This is, of course, projected to go on and on into the future. From the research carried out by the Institute, organizations that are further along with their approach are the most successful. This opens up the fight for the top position and for that case competition likely to come in.

The strategy is very critical in content marketing to ensure that you focus on the right direction and target. Remember that you are not writing for everybody but rather a specific target niche which demands that you undertake an extensive market research to find out the most appropriate target.

Another reason why strategy is very important is to ensure you get accurate measurement and analysis. The strategy lays the ground by which you can measure your success and carrying out the right comparisons and analysis. The strategy, therefore, guides you into setting goals that you will focus on in a particular period of time.

Finally, a formal strategy is essential to help you in the consistent execution of responsibilities amongst involved parties.

The following are some of the best high-level steps that can guarantee you success in your new content. These are effective steps that have been tested by many content marketers and worked at awesomely.

1. Market research

This is the most crucial step before you even think of writing your strategy. Market research is key in your content marketing because you get a chance to learn more about your target audience and what they expect from you. In your market research, you need to answer a number of questions like what your target audience’s needs are, what they are looking for, what problems they need to be solved and what their disposition is when they come across the content you share among others.

You will have answers to these questions by taking surveys and keenly monitoring social activities taking place in the digital industry.

2. Competitive research

Besides knowing who your target customers are, you also need to find out your competitors and learn how best you can compete favorably even with the giants in the industry. You need to learn your competitors’ content marketing tricks and trying to seal loopholes through which they can successfully pursue your demographics by strongly guarding your strengths. Of course, you also need to take advantage of any opportunity they are neglecting so that you stay ahead in the game all the way.

3. Set goals


Having successfully undertaken effective market and competitive research, it is time you set your content marketing strategy goals. The goals should be more focused on other things besides mere “success”. You may as well set such goals as improving on conversions or increasing traffic and attracting new customers among many others.

You can actually have as many goals as you wish provided you focus your energies on achieving each and every single goal you set.

4. Budget-setting

Content market demands a share of your budget and you need to put this in mind. Having set the main goals for your content marketing strategy, you need to set a budget that will enable you to achieve them.  At this step, all you need is to set goals that match with the budget you have set aside for sponsored blog posts. Do not overstretch your budget.

5. Budget distribution and allocation of resources in order or priorities

Let the biggest priorities take a fair share of the budget so that your main goals can be achieved faster and more effectively. On the same note, you need to find the right professional content writer to help you with creating the relevant content you need in case you are not in a position to deliver the task on your own. You thus need to figure out who should lead your content marketing for better results

You need to clarify responsibilities so that you can effectively distribute your budget without experiencing deficits before the set goals are achieved.

6. Ensure maximum accountability across the board for your content marketing strategy

You need to measure progress periodically so that you can tell the direction your strategy is taking. You need specific individuals to be responsible for executing various items in your strategy. This way, you will be able to ask the right individuals questions when things don’t come along as planned or expected.


Content marketing strategy is not just a one-moment affair your can sit down and draft in the afternoon. It is more than what many people take it to be of the face value. You need to take your time, dig deep into every step described above and lay out a foundation on how to go about each step. Carry out an extensive research and gather effective tactics and tricks that you can be sure are right and effective in enhancing the success of your brand.

You always need to stay focused and strong no matter the turbulence you face on your way. It takes a lot to successfully build a content marketing strategy that will bring forth expected results as soon as possible.

Author:  Irene fatyanova

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No one is using Facebook stories, so Facebook is borrowing Instagram’s – Post your story to both places at once.


Facebook has apparently found a new approach to giving its Stories feature a much-needed shot in the arm: soon you’ll be able to just double-post your Instagram stories to Facebook directly from the Instagram app. As Mashable reports, some Instagram users are already seeing an option to simultaneously share their image or video story to Facebook just before uploading to Instagram.

In Facebook, they’ll appear in the Stories section as though you’d actually created them there, but you’ll know that those stories actually originated from Instagram because they’re denoted with an “Instagram” label beneath the user’s name.


This whole experiment sounds rather desperate and sad, but it also shows how badly Facebook has so far failed at making Stories a success within the company’s principal app.

If you’re like me, the Stories row at the top of Facebook’s mobile app is probably a barren desert of zero activity. None of my friends and family are using the feature. No one posts anything. It’s just a series of grayed out profile photo circles.

There’s nothing to see here. There never is.
Stories have caught fire across Snapchat and Instagram. I probably post something to my Instagram story at least once a day. But Facebook’s attempt to integrate them into its core app has completely bombed (despite prominent placement) and just isn’t clicking with users. The company has added new features and confirmed that stories are coming to the desktop, but nothing so far has worked.

In that way, turning to Instagram Stories, which is used by 250 million people daily, to fix its own engagement problem shows that Facebook is already hitting a point of despair. Yes, you can already publish content that you post to your main Instagram feed to multiple other social networks, but if Stories had taken off like Facebook really wanted, this fallback probably wouldn’t have been needed. It’s also the most blatant example of Instagram adding a feature expressly for Facebook’s benefit in a long time; from a user-facing perspective, Instagram has done an admirable job keeping a line of separation with its parent company.

This is just a test for now so it might turn out that Instagram doesn’t roll out the ability to export stories to Facebook for everyone. But the lucrative advertising opportunity that stories present is too good for Facebook to just say “well, maybe people don’t want this feature in every app” and accept failure. The company is going to keep trying and trying until something lights the spark.

Author: Chris Welch

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