The way we use the Internet changes rapidly, and the platforms that facilitate our online experience are often scrambling to find new ways to keep users engaged.
The latest digital innovations relate to audio search and interacting with friends. Snapchat are trying their hand at augmented reality gaming, while Google are offering a Chrome update that stops videos from autoplaying, as well as researching ways to allow users to search for audio content.
Snapchat Launches ‘Snappables’ – AR Gaming for You and Your Friends
We’ve told you about Snapchat Lenses before – now the popular messaging app has gone one step further by incorporating Lenses for augmented reality gaming.
‘Snappables’ was introduced last week, and it marks an opportunity for users to collaborate with their friends. Players use touch, motion and even facial expressions to control the on-screen action.
Snapchat plan on releasing new selfie games for users every week. Their launch trailer features a space shooter game reminiscent of Asteroids …
…a combo-based bubblegum popping game …
…and even a weightlifting game where you manipulate your forehead to lift a barbell.
There have been a few hints that Snapchat is working on AR gaming. They acquired cloud gaming firm PlayCanvas last year, while Chinese publishing company Tencent gained a 12 per cent stake in Snap Inc in November with the intention to work on gaming options.
Snapchat are surely hoping that Snappables will give the platform a boost in its recent struggle with Instagram – the co-creation aspect could lead to interesting collaborative efforts between users in the future.
Google Wants Users to Be Able to Audio Search
Audio content is not easily searchable online in the way that text and video currently are. Google has announced that discovery of audio content in search results is a priority for the platform.
We are listening to podcasts more than ever, and Google plan to use podcast metadata in search results to allow audio content to be effectively uncovered. This would mean that we could search for podcasts based on specific content covered, such as people or events, in addition to the name of the podcast. For this proposal to work, Google will have to find a way to automatically learn the specific content of podcasts.
From a marketing perspective, this could lead to the advent of audio search engine optimisation. We might end up seeing spoken-word versions of blog posts or similar. A pessimist might even foresee the use of early SEO practices such as keyword stuffing in podcasts, but hopefully Google would be able to put a stop to such practices.
New Chrome Update Stops Videos with Sound for Autoplaying
The upcoming version 66 update for Google Chrome includes a feature that is likely to be well-received by users – most videos with sound will no longer play automatically within the browser.
There are some exceptions to the upcoming rule. The search giant considers three factors before autoplaying videos with sound in your browser. The content may autoplay if you have viewed the video before, the screen was clicked on at any point or if the site you are using appears on your mobile home screen.
This move follows Google’s decision to completely block video advertisements that autoplay with sound in the Chrome browser. Despite this, all videos that autoplay without sound are still allowed in Chrome – content creators will need to think of new methods to attract the attention of users when it comes to video content.
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