Tag Archives: snapchat

Snapchat now lets you Pikachu yourself

Snapchat is teaming up with The Pokémon Company to introduce a new Pikachu filter to the app. The official Pikachu filter applies the electric mouse’s trademark rosy cheeks, pointy ears, black nose and big eyes to faces in the app, and when users open their mouth the iconic Pikachu cry rings out as an animated version of the characters leaps into frame.

The Pikachu filter is a pretty perfect tie-in for Snapchat, which aims at a demographic that is already pretty gaga for the most recognizable of Nintendo’s pocket monsters. Plus, Snapchat could use some brand juice, and Pokémon and Pikachu have proven to offer that for a lot of other platforms, including any of Nintendo’s hardware consoles and even AR via Pokémon Go.

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Snapchat’s Pikachu filter is a limited run option, so if you want to capture yourself looking like Ash’s best pal you’d better get on it. The best strategy is probably to stockpile a wide range of selfies of yourself as Pika so you have one for every possible emotional response you can possibly make.

 

Will Snapchat Pika reach the lofty heights of Dancing Hot Dog? Only time will tell.

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Snapchat now lets you Pikachu yourself

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Facebook knew about Snap’s struggles months before the public

You may have only recently discovered that Snap isn’t having much luck attracting new users, but Facebook knew months before — and there’s a chance you helped it find out. The Wall Street Journal has learned just how Facebook has been using app usage data from Onavo Protect, the VPN-based security app from its Onavo team, to see how Snapchat adoption has changed over time. The social network looked at aggregated info about the frequency and duration of app use to determine that Snapchat use slowed down soon after Snapchat-like Instagram Stories became available. In other words, Facebook knew it could double down on its anti-Snap strategy within just a few months.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has used Onavo’s app usage data to make major decisions. The info reportedly influenced the decision to buy WhatsApp, as Facebook knew that WhatsApp’s dominance in some areas (99 percent of Android phones in Spain had it) could cut it out of the loop. Likewise, it added live video after seeing how people used Meerkat and Periscope.

 

To be clear, Facebook isn’t grabbing this data behind anyone’s back. The company says Onavo Protect is explicit about what info it’s collecting and how it’s used, and that apps have incorporated market research services like this “for years.” The odds are slim that many people read these disclosures before using Protect, but anyone who was concerned could have found them. The revelation here is more about how Facebook uses that information rather than the collection itself.

All the same, it’s that collection that has some observers nervous. Former Federal Trade Commission CTO Askhan Soltani tells the WSJ that Facebook is turning customers’ own data against them by using it to snuff out competitors. Meanwhile, tech lawyer Adam Shevell is concerned that Facebook might be violating Apple’s App Store rules by collecting data that isn’t directly relevant to app use or ads. Apple isn’t commenting on whether or not it is.

No matter what, the news underscores just how hard it is for upstarts to challenge Facebook’s dominant position. How do you compete with an internet giant that can counter your app’s features (or simply buy your company) the moment it becomes popular? This doesn’t make Facebook immune to competition, but app makers definitely can’t assume that they’ll catch the firm off-guard.

Source:

https://www.engadget.com/2017/08/13/facebook-knew-about-snap-struggles-through-app-tracking/

Kylie Jenner to Launch Snapchat Series ‘Ask Kylie’

The project will debut Aug. 12 as a companion series to her upcoming E! show ‘Life of Kylie.’

One of Snapchat’s most prolific users is getting her own show on the app.

Kylie Jenner is prepping the Aug. 12 launch of Ask Kylie on Snapchat Discover. The show, on which she will open up to fans about a variety of topics including her personal and professional life, is meant to serve as a companion series to her upcoming E! program Life of Kylie, which premieres Sunday. New episodes of Ask Kylie will be available every Saturday ahead of new episodes of Life of Kylie.

“We are thrilled to launch E!’s second Snapchat show with one of the biggest stars on the planet,” E! Entertainment president Adam Stotsky said in a statement. “Kylie’s fans are ravenous for more of her stories and it’s an exciting opportunity to engage her fans in a unique way on a platform where we know they live and breathe.” 

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Ask Kylie follows on the launch of E!-produced Snapchat show The Rundown, which recently expanded to become a twice-weekly program. The company says that recent episodes have averaged nearly 8 million viewers, approximately 75 percent of which are between the ages of 13-24.  

Jenner, 19, is one of the most-followed people on Snapchat, and has a large social presence with more than 175 million followers across Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. Each episode of Ask Kyliewill show her discussing topics that her fans have previously asked about and will include appearances by sister Khloe Kardashian, friend Jordyn Woods and others. 

Ask Kylie debuts Aug. 12 on Snapchat Discover. Life of Kylie premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on E! with back-to-back episodes.

 
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Divers use custom Snapchat Spectacles to explore deep underwater

With the exception of professional deep-sea divers and filmmakers, underwater scenery has largely remained unexplored territory on social media. But that could change with an unusual invention from Royal Caribbean, which plans to strap waterproof cameras on cruisegoers’ faces to help them get enviable vacation pics.

This week, the company is debuting a scuba mask with built-in Snapchat Spectacles, which could soon enable everyday divers to swim and shoot videos and photos of marine wildlife in places like Belize and Mexico. The “SeaSeekers” goggles were built by Sexton, an Oregon-based firm that specializes in custom underwater housing. (The concept was developed by Boston ad agency MullenLowe.)

To promote its #SeekDeeper campaign, Royal Caribbean equipped three well-known divers with their own SeaSeekers, which they wore while exploring water that tours often visit. The company dispatched marine wildlife photographer and conservationist Roberto Ochoa to Cozumel, Mexico, to provide a new look into the migration of whale sharks. It sent marine biologist Gabriela Nava to examine a coral reef restoration project. And in Belize, free diver Ashleigh Baird wore a pair while visiting the Great Blue Hole, one of the largest underwater sinkholes of its kind.

According to Royal Caribbean chief marketing officer Jim Berra, the goal is to receive a patent for the product and then equip ships with the goggles so guests can rent them by this fall. He said one purpose of the campaign is to remind people of the biological diversity of the Caribbean.

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“You can get off the beaten path and have these types of water-based adventures and then capture it in a really fun and unique way,” Berra said.

Royal Caribbean only made 10 prototypes of the product, but it gave Adweek an early preview. And while doing a demo in the Caribbean would have been ideal, the next best thing was a luxury hotel pool a little closer to home in New York.

During an early-morning swim on Thursday at the Marmara Park Avenue Hotel, I got a chance to try the SeaSeekers. To the untrained eye, it might look like a colorful scuba mask. However, to anyone who’s seen a pair of Spectacles in action, there’s no mistaking the yellow-ringed circular cameras on the polarized lenses, fastened safely behind the waterproof plastic. (This week Snap Inc. won three Cannes Lions for designing Spectacles, which one judged described as both “functional” and “beautiful.”)

While I’m a proficient swimmer, I’m far less proficient as a scuba diver, so the goggles felt foreign at first. And while the overall design was fairly comfortable, the nose had no padding (a minor inconvenience but one that proved a little painful over time). There was just one other problem: The suction around the eyes and nose was not 100 percent waterproof, which made it tough to stay underwater for too long without getting water in my eyes and nose. However, that in no way seemed to affect the function of the glasses themselves, which worked underwater perfectly.

Compared with the Caribbean there’s not a lot to document in terms of wildlife in a Manhattan pool. But I brought a friend along, who helped keep things interesting while we documented an improvised form of spontaneous synchronized swimming—underwater handstands and torpedoing through the blue like whatever fish might be floating off the coast of Belize. And the Specs worked each and every time, syncing to my water hazard of an iPhone 6 sitting safely on the side.

Viewing the underwater snaps afterward felt more immersive than a lot of other content, and it makes a lot of sense why a cruise line would want to have a way to show people on land what they’re missing. And, to be honest, the SeaSeekers were actually pretty fun to use—they even made me wish I could actually go out in the deep blue sea. (All that organic content cruisegoers will generate onboard could make for good social marketing just in time for the winter travel months.)

Source:

http://www.adweek.com/digital/royal-caribbean-built-waterproof-snapchat-spectacles-for-underwater-exploring-and-we-tried-them-out/

New Snapchat feature pinpoints your location; how to turn it off

Millions of people post the details of their daily lives on Snapchat, but now there’s worry that the sharing app may be getting a tad too intrusive.

A new feature on the app, Snap Map, pinpoints a user’s location whenever and wherever the app is being used.

Called an Actionmoji, the small cartoons indicate on a map where the user is in real time, whether or not the photos they’ve shared intentionally specify their location.

A post on the Snapchat blog states that the feature will allow users to “see what’s happening, find your friends and get inspired to go on an adventure.”

While some adults may find the new feature fun, other parents believe the app has stepped over the line into potentially dangerous oversharing.

Parents concerned the new feature may put their children’s safety in jeopardy need to know safeguards that can be put in place. Parents can find an illustrated guide to erasing the GPS feature below.

Users must opt-in to “Snap Maps,” meaning your child’s location won’t be shared unless they’ve chosen to do so.

It’s possible to share location with only certain people. Additionally, users can use “Ghost Mode,” which blocks any other users, including friends, from viewing where a user is sharing their photos.

Snapchat will designate places where a glut of photos are being taken as “heat spots,” which the company believes should motivate other users to get out and take pictures of their own adventures.

A statement by the company outlined a user’s ability to maintain privacy. “Nothing happens without your consent,” they said. “You share what you want to share. You need to choose to add friends, you need to opt-in to make yourself visible on Snap Map, you need to select the friends you have first approved so they can see you on Snap Map, you need to opt in to post to Our Story and choose to make your Snaps visible.”

Snap Map’s product designer, Jack Brody, said in an interview with Refinery29 that the feature was intended to cater to an unmet need. “One of the habits we’ve seen with our users is that they’ll take a snap where they are, put on the geofilter, and post it to their story with a caption like ‘hit me up,’” he said. “They’re basically saying come hang out with me here.”

How to turn off Snap Maps

Called an Actionmoji, the small cartoons indicate on a map where the user is in real time, whether or not the photos they’ve shared intentionally specify their location.

Snapchat will designate places where a glut of photos are being taken as “heat spots,” which the company believes should motivate other users to get out and take pictures of their own adventures.

It’s possible to share location with only certain people. Open the app’s “settings” to manage your GPS privacy.

Users can turn on “Ghost Mode,” which blocks any other users, including friends, from viewing where a user is sharing their photos.

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New Snapchat feature pinpoints your location; how to turn it off

Time Warner Signs $100 Million, 10 Show Deal With Snap

Time Warner has struck a significant content deal with Snap, the company behind Snapchat, both companies announced Monday morning. Under the terms of the deal, which is valued at $100 million, Time Warner will produce up to ten original shows for Snapchat per year.

Time Warner also committed to buy ads for HBO, Turner, and Warner Bros. on Snapchat. The deal is set to last for two years.

“This is an exciting and natural move as we bring together some of our leading video properties and brands with Snapchat’s dynamic platform,” Time Warner marketing EVP Gary Ginsberg said in a statement. “We’re confident this partnership will help drive larger audiences to our shows and to the new direct to consumer platforms we continue to rollout.”

“This partnership is another exciting step as we continue to branch out into new genres, including scripted dramas, comedies, daily news Shows, documentaries, and beyond,” said Snap’s VP of content Nick Bell.

 

Episodes of the shows produced by Time Warner will last three to five minutes each. Some of the genres Time Warner is looking to produce in include comedy and drama.

This isn’t Snap’s first content deal with a major media company. In March, Snap inked a deal with MGM to produce original short-form video. The company also has deals with ABC, NBC, ESPN, the NFL, Turner, the BBC, Vice Media, A+E Networks, and Discovery Communications, among others.

By adding Time Warner to this roster, Snap is looking to significantly increase the number of originals on its platform. Currently, Snap and its content partners publish about one new original episode per day on the service. The company is aiming to have three new episodes per day by the end of the year.

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Time Warner Signs $100 Million, 10 Show Deal With Snap

Snapchat downloads are dropping off a cliff

Snapchat’s growth has slowed sharply during the past two months as Facebook and its Instagram app continue to knock off the disappearing-photo app’s features, according to an analyst report.

Downloads of the app operated by Venice, Calif.-based Snap Inc. are down 22 percent year-over-year through the first two months of this year’s second quarter, according to Instinet.

That’s a sharp about-face from the first quarter, when Snapchat downloads rose 6 percent. In the last two months, the slowdown has been steepest with iPhone users — down a drastic 40 percent, according to the report published Wednesday.

The analyst noted that Instagram has been copying Snap’s features, for example allowing users to create “stories,” or series of video clips grouped together in a single post.

On its first-ever quarterly earnings call last month, Snap management downplayed fears about Facebook copying Snapchat’s features. CEO Evan Spiegel also noted that the second and third quarters are slowest when it comes to advertising for Snapchat.

“We are surprised that a newly public company, supposedly early in its growth cycle, would see near-term results impacted by broader seasonal ad market trends,” Instinet’s DiClemente wrote Wednesday.

Earlier this year, a former Snapchat employee sued the company, claiming that Snapchat was inflating its user stats and growth metrics in marketing materials it distributed to advertisers.

In response, Snapchat’s lawyers called the claim a “musty, two-year-old allegation about a minor metrics deviation.”

Source:

http://nypost.com/2017/06/07/snapchat-downloads-are-dropping-off-a-cliff/

Microsoft’s new Skype redesign is a radical change that looks like Snapchat

Microsoft acquired Skype nearly six years ago, and ever since then it feels like the messaging service has been experiencing an existential crisis. Skype has been slowly transitioning from a peer-to-peer service to the cloud, and it’s been a bumpy ride with many design changesand issues. While Microsoft has managed to add features like free group video calling and Skype for Web, the software giant has struggled with the design and feature set of Skype as it attempts to compete with challengers like FaceTime, Messenger, WhatsApp, and more.

 

Microsoft is once again redesigning Skype today.

Described as “the next generation of Skype,” the new design focuses on messaging. Skype is well known and used widely for video and audio calls, but iMessage, WhatsApp, Messenger, Snapchat and other messaging services have taken the lead for today’s conversations. The new Skype messaging interface now includes three sections in a conversation: find, chat, and capture. Find lets you search through a conversation, or find images, restaurants, and even add-ins like YouTube or Giphy to add content into a message. Chat is the basic conversation view you’d expect with options for emoji or picture additions, but the newest section is capture.

Capture feels a lot like Snapchat within Skype, and it immediately launches into the camera to let you take pictures or hold down for video. As you hold down for video you’ll immediately recognize one of the more subtle design changes in this new version of Skype, a squiggly line that represents the amount of time for a recording. This line is also used for calling, or when contacts are typing. Once you’ve captured a video or picture you can then add stickers, text, or simply annotate it, all just like Snapchat.

Skype is also introducing a new Highlights feature that’s a lot like Snapchat stories. Highlights lets you post a stream of photos and videos that friends can view and react with emoticons. Even in text- or video-based conversations you’ll be able to react on Skype with emoticons. It seems the new Skype UI is really designed to make you use more and more of the new chat features available.

Even calling is getting redesigned for this new version of Skype. You can drag and drop people around in conversations, and react with emoticons during calls. During my limited testing it felt a lot smoother than regular group video chats, but I didn’t feel the need to blast emoticons at people.

 

Today’s Skype design is just the latest in a long line of changes over the years. Microsoft has been trying many different ways to get people to use Skype messaging instead of competitors. Skype Qik was an attempt to take over mobile video messaging that flopped, and Microsoft has been tweaking its Skype mobile interface for years to better improve messaging. Nothing has had a big impact, and Skype is still widely used for video and audio calls. Microsoft has the user base and brand recognition for the calling part of Skype, but it’s desperate for Skype to be considered a true messaging service.

Source:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/1/15723594/microsoft-skype-redesign-features

Forget 10 seconds, Snapchat now lets you replay messages forever

Snapchat was built on the concept of ephemerality: once you see a message, it disappears forever.

Starting Tuesday, Snapchat is making its messages feel less fleeting by letting them replay indefinitely. A new infinity icon will allow a photo or video message to be replayed forever until the receiver exits the conversation thread. Snapchat messages, called “snaps,” could previously only be seen for up to 10 seconds before they disappeared.

“We’ve all felt the frustration of not being able to fully enjoy a Snap – even after replaying it – and we wanted to give you the option of allowing the recipient to enjoy your Snap as long as they’d like,” the company wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. “After your friend finishes viewing the Snap and taps to close it, it will delete as usual.”

The change is a notable one for Snapchat, which in its early days earned a reputation for sexting because of how quickly its messages disappeared after being viewed. The app has since popularized the Stories format, which shows photo and video messages in chronological order that disappear after 24 hours. Facebook has aggressively copied Stories in its full suite of apps in recent months.

Snapchat’s change to one of its core features also comes a day ahead of the company’s first earnings report since it became a publicly traded company in February. Wall Street is looking for signs that Snapchat is still growing and that the competition from Facebook hasn’t taken too great of a toll.

Snapchat also added a few new creative tools on Tuesday, including the ability to draw with emojis and a “magic eraser.” A redesigned menu for the app’s editing tools will “provide a foundation for introducing even more creative tools for making fun Snaps,” the company said.

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Source:

http://www.businessinsider.com/snapchat-lets-messages-reply-forever-adds-magic-eraser-and-other-tools-2017-5

WhatsApp’s Status feature now has more daily users than Snapchat

Less than three months after its introduction, WhatsApp’s generic take on Snapchat stories now has 175 million users, Facebook said today. That’s a healthy number of users for the communication app, which has more than 1 billion users around the world. And it suggests Facebook’s strategy of cloning Snapchat across its entire suite of products is having its desired effect — halting Snapchat’s growth around the world, while also opening up valuable new surfaces for advertising.

The popularity of WhatsApp Status has been hard to gauge for US-based journalists, since the app is much more popular overseas. Given that relatively few international users had been exposed to the stories format before, it seemed reasonable that it could prove popular in WhatsApp. Facebook’s announcement today during an earnings call confirms that, for now at least, it appears to be working.

Snapchat faces a strong challenge from Facebook, and currently has 161 million daily users, the company said in February. The good news for Snapchat is they don’t appear to be going anywhere — more than half of users don’t visit Facebook daily, and nearly half don’t visit Instagram daily, according to App Annie research shared with Bloomberg.

Also, WhatsApp was down today.

Source:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/3/15537000/whatsapp-stories-status-users-175-million

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