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Facebook Dating begins testing in Colombia

Facebook Dating which was announced in May began testing early last week in Colombia. The online dating product lives within the Facebook app and is themed around an algorithmic powered home screen of suggested romantic matches based on data Facebook has on you.

You’ll only have a maximum of 100 people per day to express interest in. There’s no swiping and by default, it shows you friends-of-friends but there’s the option of seeing people with no mutual connections. It’s not in competition with Tinder – which Facebook thinks is a hookup app but rather with Hinge and OKCupid to find you a life partner. Privacy concerns have been taken care of from the opt-in nature to how it’s almost siloed from Facebook [Read more in-depth details about the app]

“We wanted to make a product that encouraged people to remember that there are people behind the profiles and the cards that they’re seeing. We wanted a system that emphasizes consideration over impulse. We want you to consider more than that person’s profile photo.”

The news of the dating app tests is already raising questions with people recalling how past experiences in other regions have not gone so well. Also, here’s why we shouldn’t trust the social media giant to play cupid. [Read More]

Facebook is this week going to announce a video chat device known as Portal

The device that is projected to cost between $300 and $400 already looks doomed by the way Facebook described it especially in the wake of Cambridge Analytica. Portal has a privacy shutter that covers the wide angled video camera which uses AI to recognize people in the frame and follow them throughout the room. The shutter was recently added after worsening public trust on Facebook. It will work with Amazon’s Alexa. The uptake of this will be fascinating to watch.

Regramming is not coming to Instagram. Here are other new features it’s testing that you’ll love.

Looks like Instagram wants to increase engagement on the photo-sharing platform. Earlier this week, there were reports of “regramming” coming back but Instagram scrapped off those ideas, possibly from the backlash. But third-party reposting and tagging apps are already doing a good job with minimal disruption to the general user experience.

Instead, it revealed new features that will be coming sooner rather than later. For those Instagrammers who like to use lots of hashtags in their captions and annoy the rest of us, Instagram is testing a feature that will separate said hashtags (to treat them like SEO terms) from the captions to end all this madness.

Other features in prototype mode include:

• Quiz stickers
• Stories Highlight Stickers
• GIFs in Direct messaging with the ability to see who made them and the other GIFs they’ve created
• Geofenced posts

Instagram also said it may be working on a standalone shopping app which has no ETA, but in the meanwhile here’s how it’s going to lure window shoppers within the app; The company said they will add a shopping tab to the explore tab allowing you to thumb through a dedicated feed of shoppable merchandise from various sellers. It will allow sellers to add stickers to Stories letting buyers make purchases from the stories feed.

Interesting Reads on IG:

  • Engadget’s piece on why Instagrammers are faking their own deaths to become popular on the platform. [Read More]
  • Instagram isn’t used to making mistakes but a 3-week research on IGTV unmasked massive disturbing problems including the video platform suggesting videos of potential child abuse. The videos got removed later on which brings the concern that if Instagram can’t handle and properly monitor its trending algorithms when it’s at this early stage, how will people trust it if it ever goes mainstream?

Amazon heard you liked Alexa so it put the voice assistant in everything, including a microwave

It sure seems that Amazon, unlike, Apple (who keep changing the devices it already sells) were busy making all kinds of new things including an echo clock which it announced at its 2018 hardware event.

This year Amazon focussed on Alexa on in-home audio and video, the connected home and the car. Alexa will follow you everywhere and continue listening to you more than ever proving that there are some product categories Apple and Google won’t enter – which isn’t true for Amazon.

The big deal isn’t these products but the fact that Amazon has a low-cost chip to put Alexa in everything. Sadly, Alexa is in almost every gadget except for smartphones, although it tried but flopped with the Fire Phone.

Alexa, how secure is my data?

Weirdly, even during the Thursday press event – Amazon failed to talk about the potential privacy risks of this technology. Have we as consumers, given up on privacy risks posed by our human-robot relationships?

Twitter transforms itself, gets a bug and also brings a chronological timeline but is it enough?

If you have been on Twitter lately, you might have noticed an undeniable transformation. One playful tweet it sent generated almost 10,000 replies.

Leslie Berland, who spearheads the marketing department that’s in charge of @Twitter is the one responsible for recently refining the platform’s voice. “Goal is to have fun, bring everyone into the conversation, and celebrate the best of Twitter. It makes the world feel a little bit smaller.”

In line with making the world feel a bit smaller, Twitter shared some of your direct messages with third-party developers by accident. The bug has been active since May 2017 but Twitter has since resolved it. The bug affected selected users and accounts or businesses that relied on a certain API (Account Activity API – AAAPI) designed for customer service interactions.

Interesting Reads:

• A chronological timeline is a chance to save ourselves—if we choose to. [Read More]
• Twitter’s Return to a Chronological Feed Won’t Fix the Platform. [Read More]
• Kanye West Is Finally Right About Something: Twitter Should Lose Its Metrics. [Read More]

For me, I’ll stick with the algorithmic feed.

Google Photos may soon get manual bokeh and Color Pop effect

Back in May at their I/O Event, Google announced that Google Photos will soon have new AI-powered features such as Color Pop and manual bokeh. Color pop helps you highlight the object or the person in focus and make the background black and white. Manual bokeh effect helps you adjust the blur of the background.

Both features will help even unskilled photographers create better shots. Some users have started seeing the feature in Photos. We hope the features are made available for more users soon, but it currently seems to be rolling out to a few users in a server-side experiment.

Google Chrome will get a native dark mode but only for macOS

Google’s latest Material Theme overhaul has been predominately bright white, but a few apps have picked up dark modes including YouTube and Android Messages. It looks like Google Chrome may also get a dark mode, but it will launch first and probably only on macOS.

You’d be disappointed by why Google has de-prioritized its loyal customers but it’s because macOS has a system-wide native dark mode. Switching to the dark mode at night would be very convenient as it’ll be easy on the eyes. Hopefully, Google will see how nice the dark mode looks in macOS and bring it to Chrome on all platforms.

Worth Reading

The new iPhones were launched at Apple’s new campus but its history is all tied up in the old One Infinite Loop facilities. Current and former Apple executives including Eddy Cue, Tony Fadell, Greg Joswiak and John Sculley recount anecdotes from their time at the Infinite Loop campus. Eddy Cue on Steve Jobs: “That’s how I discovered that his idea of pizza and my idea of pizza were definitely something different”. Apple did lock up Steve Jobs’ old office forever, untouched since the day he died.

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