TikTok tests an Instagram-style grid and other changes


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Short-form video app TikTok, the fourth most downloaded app in the world as of last quarter, is working on several new seemingly Instagram-inspired features — including a Discover page, a grid-style layout similar to Instagram Explore, an Account Switcher, and more.

The features were uncovered this week by reverse-engineering specialist Jane Manchun Wong, who published screenshots of these features and others to Twitter.

A TikTok spokesperson declined to offer further details on the company’s plans, but confirmed the features were things the company is working on.

“We’re always experimenting with new ways to improve the app experience for our community,” the spokesperson said.

The most notable change uncovered by Wong is one to TikTok’s algorithmically generated “For You” page. Today, users flip through each video on this page, one by one, in a vertical feed-style format. The updated version instead offers a grid-style layout, which looks more like

👀

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Lyft expands its PIN feature for airport pickups to LaGuardia


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Lyft has announced an expansion of its new program designed to make airports pickups less confusing for riders and drivers alike, by directing riders to a designated pickup spot where they’ll show the driver a PIN code. The program is launching this weekend at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, the company says, and the plan to roll out a similar experience at other airports in the future still remains.

Starting on Saturday, July 20 at LaGuardia, users who request a Lyft ride won’t have to search for their vehicle at the usual and often busy pickup areas. Instead, they’ll be directed through the Lyft app to a designated Lyft pickup spot line, located in the Terminal B Garage, Area G.

A screen will pop-up after the user enters their ride request and destination that explains how to get to the Lyft pickup area, and will display a button that says “Get

Screen Shot 2019 07 19 at 12.25.08 PM

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Twitter tests a new way to label replies


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Twitter is testing a new way to make conversation threads easier to follow, with the launch of a new test that labels notable replies with special icons. If the original poster replies somewhere in the thread, their tweet will have a small microphone icon next to their profile picture. Other tweets may be labeled, as well — including those from users who were mentioned in the original tweet and replies from people you’re already following on Twitter.

These will be labeled with the at symbol (@) and a small person icon with a checkmark by it, respectively.

The new test is the latest in a series of experiments Twitter has been running focused on making its product easier to use, particularly when conversations around a tweet become lengthy.

At the beginning of this year, the company first began a test where it labeled the original poster in a conversation thread

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Instagram will now warn you before your account gets deleted, offer in-app appeals


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Instagram this morning announced several changes to its moderation policy, the most significant of which is that it will now warn users if their account could become disabled before that actually takes place. This change goes to address a longstanding issue where users would launch Instagram only to find that their account had been shut down without any warning.

While it’s one thing for Instagram to disable accounts for violating its stated guidelines, the service’s automated systems haven’t always gotten things right. The company has come under fire before for banning innocuous photos, like those of mothers breastfeeding their children, for example, or art. (Or, you know, Madonna.)

Now the company says it will introduce a new notification process that will warn users if their account is at risk of becoming disabled. The notification will also allow them to appeal the deleted content in some cases.

For now,

Disable Thresholds 2 up EN

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The FTC looks to change children’s privacy law following complaints about YouTube


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is considering an update to the laws governing children’s privacy online, known as the COPPA Rule (or, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act). The Rule first went into effect in 2000 and was amended in 2013 to address changes in how children use mobile devices and social networking sites. Now, the FTC believes it may be due for more revisions. The organization is seeking input and comments on possible updates, some of which are specifically focused on how to address sites that aren’t necessarily aimed at children, but have large numbers of child users.

In other words, sites like YouTube .

The FTC’s announcement comes only weeks after U.S. consumer advocacy groups and Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sent complaint letters to the FTC, urging the regulators to investigate YouTube for potential COPPA violations.

The advocacy groups allege that YouTube is hiding

youtube kids website
tiktok ftc

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Storytelling community Wattpad launches its premium products worldwide


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Online storytelling community Wattpad, also now a content feeder for streaming services and other media companies, is taking its two consumer-facing paid products global. Wattpad Premium, the ad-free subscription tier, first launched in 2017 and has only been available in a handful of countries to date. It’s now available to Wattpad’s 70 million-plus worldwide users, as of today. In addition, Wattpad’s Paid Stories, which offers exclusive, paywalled content to readers, is also now available to the global user base.

This product launched last November into beta testing, when it was then called Wattpad Next. It was initially available in the U.S. with plans for a global launch planned for this year.

Technically speaking, Wattpad quietly launched Paid Stories globally last week, but it has now completed its rollout to all users, the company says. The stories give readers another way to support their favorite writers as they can

Screen Shot 2019 07 18 at 10.31.39 AM

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Twitter officially launches its ‘Hide Replies’ feature, initially to users in Canada


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Twitter today is beginning its test of a radical and controversial change to its service with the launch of a new “Hide Replies” feature. Effectively, this option gives users the ability to wrestle back control over a conversation they’ve started, by hiding any replies they feel aren’t worthy contributions — for example, replies that are irrelevant or outright offensive.

One of the problems with Twitter — and with many social networks, for that matter — is that an otherwise healthy conversation can easily be disrupted by a single individual or a small number of people who don’t contribute in a positive fashion. They come into a thread to start drama or they make inappropriate, rude or even hateful remarks.

Of course, users can choose for themselves to either Mute or Block people like this, which limits their ability to affect their own personal experience on Twitter. But this doesn’t remove

author1 1

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Twitter officially launches its ‘Hide Replies’ feature, initially to users in Canada


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Twitter today is beginning its test of a radical and controversial change to its service with the launch of a new “Hide Replies” feature. Effectively, this option gives users the ability to wrestle back control over a conversation they’ve started, by hiding any replies they feel aren’t worthy contributions — for example, replies that are irrelevant or outright offensive.

One of the problems with Twitter — and with many social networks, for that matter — is that an otherwise healthy conversation can easily be disrupted by a single individual or a small number of people who don’t contribute in a positive fashion. They come into a thread to start drama or they make inappropriate, rude or even hateful remarks.

Of course, users can choose for themselves to either Mute or Block people like this, which limits their ability to affect their own personal experience on Twitter. But this doesn’t remove

author1 1

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For World Emoji Day, the Unicode Consortium redesigns its site to be more user-friendly


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Ahead of World Emoji Day on Wednesday, July 17, Apple and Google announced plans to bring an expanded set of emoji to their respective platforms. Today, the Unicode Consortium, the nonprofit organization responsible for determining which emoji get the greenlight, is relaunching its website with an updated, modern design that aims to make its information more accessible to the general public.

Before, its website design was very basic — just text and links to various pages about the Consortium itself, the standard, miscellaneous FAQs, projects in progress, and other information. It looked like a technical resource, and certainly one that hadn’t been updated in years.

With an outdated layout, ancient social share buttons and boring font choices, it really looked more like an ancient government website than a resource designed for public consumption.

Screen Shot 2019 07 17 at 2.05.49 PM

Above: the old site 

That changes with the redesign. Not only is the site more mainstream-friendly,

Screen Shot 2019 07 17 at 2.08.25 PM

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For World Emoji Day, the Unicode Consortium redesigns its site to be more user-friendly


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Ahead of World Emoji Day on Wednesday, July 17, Apple and Google announced plans to bring an expanded set of emoji to their respective platforms. Today, the Unicode Consortium, the nonprofit organization responsible for determining which emoji get the greenlight, is relaunching its website with an updated, modern design that aims to make its information more accessible to the general public.

Before, its website design was very basic — just text and links to various pages about the Consortium itself, the standard, miscellaneous FAQs, projects in progress, and other information. It looked like a technical resource, and certainly one that hadn’t been updated in years.

With an outdated layout, ancient social share buttons and boring font choices, it really looked more like an ancient government website than a resource designed for public consumption.

Screen Shot 2019 07 17 at 2.05.49 PM

Above: the old site 

That changes with the redesign. Not only is the site more mainstream-friendly,

Screen Shot 2019 07 17 at 2.08.25 PM

Continue reading “For World Emoji Day, the Unicode Consortium redesigns its site to be more user-friendly”

Spotify partners with Disney on a new streaming hub aimed at families


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




In an effort likely aimed at boosting family memberships, Spotify this morning announced a new partnership with Disney on the creation of a Disney Hub on its streaming service. Here, Disney fans in select markets including the U.S. will find a selection of Disney playlists like soundtracks from Disney, Pixar and Marvel movies, Star Wars instrumentals, classics, sing-alongs and more.

The Disney Hub is also live in the U.K., Ireland, South Africa, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It can be discovered by doing a search for “Disney” in the Spotify app.

Disney songs in particular appeal to families with children, and Spotify memberships that offer multiple profiles for both parents and kids alike are of more value to the streaming service. For example, Spotify Premium in the U.S. is $9.99 per month, but the Family membership is $14.99 per month. Of course, kids could

Screen Shot 2019 07 17 at 11.44.31 AM

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Amazon sells over 175M items during Prime Day 2019, more than Black Friday & Cyber Monday combined


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Amid worker protests and antitrust investigations, Amazon’s Prime Day sales event carried on as usual — and that means it again set new records for the online retailer. This time, Amazon says Prime Day 2019 was bigger than both Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, as Prime members purchased more than 175 million items during the event.

While last year’s Prime Day 2018 became the biggest sales day in Amazon history, it’s getting harder to directly compare one Prime Day sale with another, because Amazon keeps stretching them out.

Prime Day 2019, for example, was a full 48-hour sale, up from 36 hours last year and 30 hours the year before.

What we are able to tell, however, is that people will continue to shop as long as there are bargains being offered. During Prime Day 2018’s 36-hour sale, Prime members bought 100 million items. During this year’s 48-hour

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Amazon Prime Day sees competition from more than expected number of retailers


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Amazon’s Prime Day continues to gain competition from rival retailers piggybacking on the annual event with their own sales. Ahead of this year’s Prime Day, RetailMeNot had forecast that this year’s sale would see competition from 250 retailers. Today, the firm upped this figure to over 300, saying it found that more retailers than earlier estimated have decided to run their own counter-sales.

As of 9 AM on the second day of Prime Day — Tuesday, July 16, 2019 — RetailMeNot says it has counted over 300 unique retailers running Prime Day-related offers. This is up from the 275 retailers it had uncovered yesterday afternoon, and up from the 250 it had forecast.

For comparison’s sake, Prime Day 2018 saw competition from 194 retailers; the year before that, just 119. And only 27 retailers ran counter sales back in 2016.

The rival sales come from retailers both large and small

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Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Quibi partners with NBC News for a daily news show aimed at millennials


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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NBC News today announced an exclusive partnership with Jeffrey Katzenberg’s upcoming mobile streaming service, Quibi, which will see the media company becoming the first major producer for the service’s “Daily Essentials” news programming, aimed at millennial viewers. As part of the deal, NBC will produce both a 6-minute morning and evening news show for the service. The programming will air 7 days a week and will feature dedicated news hosts as well as original news content.

This is not the first time NBC News has targeted millennial viewers in particular. The company also runs a Snapchat news show called Stay Tuned that reaches millions, and it just launched its own digital streaming news network, NBC News Now, which is delivered through its NBC app.

NBC News Now will also power the breaking news coverage for Quibi, says NBC.

However, the deal is not just about repurposing NBC’s existing

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Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Quibi partners with NBC News for a daily news show aimed at millennials


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




NBC News today announced an exclusive partnership with Jeffrey Katzenberg’s upcoming mobile streaming service, Quibi, which will see the media company becoming the first major producer for the service’s “Daily Essentials” news programming, aimed at millennial viewers. As part of the deal, NBC will produce both a 6-minute morning and evening news show for the service. The programming will air 7 days a week and will feature dedicated news hosts as well as original news content.

This is not the first time NBC News has targeted millennial viewers in particular. The company also runs a Snapchat news show called Stay Tuned that reaches millions, and it just launched its own digital streaming news network, NBC News Now, which is delivered through its NBC app.

NBC News Now will also power the breaking news coverage for Quibi, says NBC.

However, the deal is not just about repurposing NBC’s existing

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Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick are again Prime Day’s best selling devices (so far!)


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Amazon Prime members again snapped up loss leaders like the Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick with Alexa Remote on the first day of Amazon Prime Day 2019, which has now been stretched out to a 48-hour sale. This is the third year in a row that the entry-level Alexa smart speaker, the Echo Dot, has been a Prime Day bestseller. The Fire TV Stick was a top seller last year, too, and sold well in years past — including in 2016, when it emerged at the overall best-selling device globally on Prime Day.

Amazon never provides hard numbers on Prime Day sales, but claims “millions” of these devices — the Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick combined — were sold on Monday to customers worldwide during the first day of Prime Day 2019.

Last year, Amazon claimed customers bought “millions” of Fire TV Stick devices alone, for comparison’s

echo show 5

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Large retailers saw 64% increase in sales on Monday, thanks to Amazon Prime Day


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




It’s no longer a winner-take-all scenario for Amazon Prime Day — in fact, that hasn’t been true for years. As soon as other large retailers realized they could piggyback on Amazon’s annual sales event to boost their own revenues from counter-sales, they’ve been doing just that. According to new data from Adobe Analytics out this morning, large retailers have already seen a big jump — a 64% increase — in their U.S. e-commerce spending thanks to Prime Day on Monday, July 15, when compared with an average Monday.

That’s up quite a bit from the 54% increase seen by these large retailers (those with over a billion in annual revenue) last year, the report notes.

Smaller retailers did well yesterday, too. Niche retailers with less than $5 million in annual revenue saw a 30% increase in their online sales on Monday, due to more people shopping online for deals.

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Facebook snags former Vine GM to run product for its new experimental app division, NPE Team


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Is Facebook preparing to launch a serious competitor to TikTok? If so, the company just picked up some key talent to make that happen. Last week, Facebook announced plans for a new division, called the NPE Team, which will build experimental consumer-focused apps where it will try different ideas and features, then see how people react. Now, Facebook has picked up former Vine GM Jason Toff to join the NPE team as a Product Management Director.

Toff’s experience also includes time spent at Google, most notably as a Product Lead for YouTube before exiting to Vine in

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Dish’s AirTV launches an $80 streaming stick for accessing Sling TV, Netflix & broadcast channels


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Dish is expanding its hardware lineup today with the launch of a new 4K streaming stick, the AirTV Mini, designed to make it easier for cord cutters to access its live TV service Sling TV, plus Netflix and over-the-air channels from one user interface. The Android TV-powered device is meant to complement an existing setup that already includes an OTA digital antenna and an AirTV WiFi-enabled network tuner, the company says.

For a limited time, new and existing Sling TV customers can get the latter two items for free — an AirTV Wi-Fi-enabled network tuner and an indoor antenna — by prepaying for 3 months of Sling TV’s service.

In addition, the AirTV Mini also includes support for 2×2 802.11AC Wi-Fi, a lost remote finder feature, support for Google Assistant and Google Play, as well as support for VP94K decoding, which allows you to watch YouTube or Netflix content

airtv mini
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Report: Amazon Prime Day 2019 will push U.S. e-commerce sales to over $2 billion


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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A report from Adobe’s analytics arm predicts Amazon’s Prime Day 2019 sales event, which began today, to have another sizable impact on the U.S. e-commerce market. The company expects a revenue lift for top retailers — those with over $1 billion in online sales — to reach 79% this year, up from the 60% lift they sale during Prime Day 2018. And it says that Prime Day will become the third time outside the holiday season that U.S. e-commerce spending will top $2 billion, as it previously did on Labor Day 2018 and Memorial Day 2019.

“We attribute this growth in sales to the fact that the big e-commerce competitors have become better at reaping the benefits of this artificial holiday,” said Taylor Schreiner, principal analyst at Adobe Digital Insights (ADI). “After all, they’ve now had almost five years of practice in converting Prime Day traffic.”

The

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