The newest digital updates are all about simplicity and immediacy – be it new Instagram features or front-page Google search changes, the major platforms are thinking about effortless functionality.
This week we look at Google, who have updated their Knowledge Panel for musicians, as well as Instagram’s projected changes and the new Messenger platform that aims to make customer interaction as seamless as possible.
New Support Allows Musicians to Post Front-Page Google Updates
It’ll soon be easier than ever to get the latest news from your favourite musician. Google have updated the Knowledge Panel you see upon searching for a particular artist. Now, in addition to biographical information about the artist, you’ll be able to see social media style posts about their current activity.
Only a select group of musicians were included in the initial rollout of this feature, but any business or artist with a Google Knowledge Panel is now able to make use of the update.
Artists such as Lorde, Sia and Shakira are already using Google Posts. The info blasts look a lot like Twitter, as demonstrated by this Google Post update from Steve Aoki.
Musicians will be able to post text updates, images and relevant video to their Knowledge Panel. Much like Twitter and Instagram, you’ll see a blue tick that indicates their account has been verified.
Four Key Instagram Features Tipped to Hit the Platform
A deep dive into the app code of Instagram often yields hints regarding features that are on the way. Napier Lopez of thenextweb.com has speculated on the Instagram features we can expect to see in the near future.
First up is universal portrait mode. A file in the Android code of Instagram hints that a new mode may be integrated that allows users to create portraits using AI. Newer phones have the depth-sensing capabilities to create great images using a software-only portrait mode.
It also seems that cinemagraphs may be on the cards for Instagram. A savvy user uncovered some hidden features within the Instagram app, producing this screenshot which suggests the platform is working on cinemagraph integration.
For those who don’t know, cinemagraphs are a cool fusion of digital imagery and animation where only a certain aspect of an image is in motion. It can give the illusion that you are watching a full animation.
The projected Instagram features don’t just relate to imagery. The platform is testing ‘favourited’ chats, where users will be able to place a star next to important chats to allow them to return to the chat later with ease. Instagram is also looking at allowing users to download all of their content at once in a ZIP file. With information stored in the cloud now, this will give users better control over their content in case a hack or similar occurrence causes material to be deleted. Fellow Facebook-owned platform WhatsApp is also expected to integrate this feature.
Messenger 2.3 Launches to Improve Customer Interactions
More and more businesses are taking to Messenger to interact with their customer base. The launch of Messenger Platform 2.3 introduces several new features that allow for seamless discussion between customers and businesses.
Messenger have improved quick reply functionality – now, if a business requests your contact information, you can select quick reply which automatically populates based on your Facebook contact info. If you have multiple addresses or numbers associated with your profile, you can choose which one you’d rather use before replying.
As for improvements from a business perspective, the new platform supports customised colours and greeting texts based upon your business branding. Also on the way is an easy setup tool, which allows business owners to make changes quickly and efficiently.
Messenger 2.3 also helps businesses with improved notifications, a persistent menu and Internet Explorer support. There are even improved messaging metrics that allow you to keep track of ongoing conversations and gain a better understanding of your customer base.
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Brendan Golingan is an SEO Consultant.