I think it's safe to say that short-form video content reached the pinnacle of popularity this year. Seeing TikTok's wild success, competing platforms such as YouTube and Instagram were quick to jump on the bandwagon with Shorts and Reels, respectively. It seems like even Google doesn't want to miss out on getting a piece of the pie as the search giant is expanding its carousel of short videos in mobile search results to include content from more sources.
As noted by several users on social media and verified by our own Manuel Vonau in Germany, Facebook is temporarily disabling some features for Messenger and Instagram users who are based in the European region. The development has been revealed via in-app alerts which attribute "new rules for messaging services" as the cause for the change.
Back in October, the US Justice Department went after Google in a massive antitrust lawsuit filed against the company. We heard that Facebook could be looking at similar scrutiny, and now those rumors have come to fruition. Multiple lawsuits were filed against Facebook yesterday, including one from the Federal Trade Commission that seeks to remove Instagram and WhatsApp from the company's control. For its part, Facebook has called the litigation "revisionist history."
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and there sure is plenty of it to go around in the tech sphere. Having borrowed heavily from Instagram's Stories for its Previews section, Netflix is now turning its attention to TikTok for a new type of preview stream it's calling 'Fast Laughs.'
After successfully cloning Snapchat's Stories, Instagram is pushing hard to break into the next market. Not too long ago, it introduced its TikTok copy Reels, which is currently rolling out to users worldwide. To put the new format front and center, Instagram has formally announced that it will now get a fixed place in the bottom bar along with a new Shop section.
Everyone wants to disappear sometimes — or at the very least, make some embarrassing comment of theirs disappear. Facebook is making that a bit easier by borrowing a feature from Snapchat that makes it possible to send messages that don't stick around. The new "vanish mode" for Messenger and Instagram promises to make messaging a more "spontaneous" experience, and it's starting to roll out now.
YouTube Music is one of many Google apps that use their own share sheet on Android. Instead of adopting the default one, they have a custom design (Photos, News, Maps, YouTube, Twitter) and can include whatever targets they want. That's why you can see your contacts in Photos, for example. But YouTube Music is taking this privilege a little far now by adding icons for Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories among your apps.
Android has supported app shortcuts since 2016, but some popular apps still haven't implemented the feature yet. We found evidence that Instagram was about to change that in October 2019, though it took the company until now to finally roll out shortcuts widely. Most people should now be able to tap and hold the Instagram icon on their home screen to quickly access the camera, create a new post, view their activity, and open direct messages. Additionally, Instagram has quietly reworked the Stories archive, which is now organized in three sections.
Facebook has been working on unifying Instagram's messaging system with its own Facebook Messenger app since earlier this summer, and now the company is announcing a refreshed look for Messenger complete with new chat themes, custom reactions, and a more colorful logo.