August 2017

Instagram Updates Multi Photo Posts to Allow Different Aspect Ratios

instagramWhile many Instagram users were excited about multi photo and video posts when Instagram added this feature in February, some were bothered by the fact that their photos had to be posted in Instagram’s standard 1:1 aspect ratio, making all photos into a square. This aspect ratio has been one that Instagram users have often found problematic as it makes it necessary to crop the photo, sometimes in ways that users don’t like. Instagram has now made a change so users can use either landscape or portrait format when posting multiple photos or videos.

 

Instagram’s goal with this change has been to allow a much greater level of creativity from the users on Instagram. Users will be able to decide before posting multiple photos or videos if they want these to display as landscape, portrait, or some other ratio entirely. All photos in a set have to stick to the same aspect ratio for consistency’s sake, so users will still be somewhat limited by this requirement. Of course, as with before, users will be able to continue to use the 1:1 ratio if this is what they prefer.

 

This update has come about following several much smaller updates that were made to these multi photo and video postings. Previous updates made it possible for people to go back after they had posted and tag people they may have forgotten. Another update focused on allowing users to save photos as a draft on the iOS platform before they posted the photo.

 

In addition to this change to the multi photo posts, users have noticed some other unannounced changes to the Instagram app. Some of these include making certain fonts smaller and thinner to allow for more space between words. These make it so that the app appears far less cramped than it did previously.

Facebook Adds New Features for Panoramic Pictures

facebookLast year, Facebook added the ability to upload panoramic photos to their platform for all users. They have now chosen to extend this ability to make it so that users will be able to capture panoramic photos using the Facebook app rather than having to use a device that is able to take these panoramic photos or a different app to allow these to be taken. This means that all users who have the Facebook app can begin taking these photos and using them on Facebook.

 

The update has now rolled out to both iOS and Android so anyone using the Facebook app will be able to use this new feature. Users will be able to just open their Facebook app and then click on the 360 photo option that is at the top of their news feed. This will allow them to start taking panoramic pictures directly from the app on their phone so that they can then use the different photos on Facebook.

 

Facebook allows you to share the 360 degree photos that you take with your friends as you would normally. They even have additional options that will allow you to choose the starting view for the photo that will display on people’s news feeds. The photo can be used around Facebook and shared with friends via timeline posts, albums, or even on group pages. You’ll even be able to tag friends in the photos that you take.

 

In addition to making these pictures usable just about anywhere around Facebook, the update also makes it so that you can use a panoramic photo from either the app or any other source as your cover photo on your profile page. This change is the first that has been made to cover photos since they were initially introduced to Facebook. The change will allow users to make the cover photo on their page something that is more fun.

Instagram Update Allows Users to Communicate With Pictures

In a new update, Instagram has started to allow users to respond to pictures in direct messages that use images as a response. While this may sound complicated, it is actually something that is fairly simple and had the intention of simplifying interactions between users. The feature makes it easier for people to specify exactly what their direct messages are in response to by creating whatever you’re responding to as a sticker that will then go into your reply image. The feature is one that provides a person with a greater amount of versatility when responding to images on Instagram.

 

This update is an addition to the direct messaging that already exists within Instagram. To use the new feature, simply tap on the reply button on the photo or video that you would like to reply to. This image will then be turned into a sticker that you can then overlay your reaction on. For example, you could have the sticker version of what you are responding to and then in the background you could be making a face showing your response to this image.

 

You are able to further use this sticker in your responses by drawing on the sticker itself and moving it around to fit with whatever your response is. By allowing further editing, Instagram is providing people with a further way to interact with the image and express their response more clearly while staying fairly visual and much more fun.

 

By adding this feature into Instagram, the hope is that conversing with friends via Instagram will become something that is a lot more fun to do. The visual elements of this new feature show ways in which Instagram is further competing with Snapchat. If people are more attracted to Instagram’s version of communicating through images, they may be less likely to use apps like Snapchat in the future.

Instagram Tests a New Update to Live Streaming

instagram live chatFollowing in Facebook’s footsteps, Instagram is planning a new update that will allow people using Instagram live to invite a friend, family member, or fan to join them during the stream. The hope is that many users will enjoy using this feature to chat with friends and make their live streams more interesting. Many people are seeing this feature as one that will allow for more useful back and forth dialogue with people who are not actively in the room with you when you are live streaming.

 

Since Facebook released a similar feature in May, it is no surprise that Instagram has followed by beginning testing of their new version of Instagram Live. The new version will allow users to invite anyone viewing their live stream to join the video. Once guests are live with you, either you can decide when you are done talking to them or they can leave the live stream themselves.

 

You can easily add a friend to your live stream just by tapping a new icon that will appear at the bottom right showing two smiley faces. Once you have added the person you are interested in talking to and they have accepted, the screen will be split in half and both people will be visible on the live stream until the second person is removed or removes themselves.

 

Splitting the screen evenly is a new design from the typical FaceTime model where one person appears much smaller than the other. Instagram is hoping that by splitting the screen, they’ll be visually representing an even back and forth between two people. Currently the feature is only available to a randomly selected group of users while it goes through its trial period. In next few months, Instagram plans to roll out the feature officially.

Facebook Further Updates News Feed to Prioritize Certain Articles

facebookFor the last few months, Facebook has been working on improvements to their news feed to make it easier for them to restrict access to fake and click-bait type articles while providing a better user experience for those who use Facebook as a place to obtain news and information. Their newest update is one that focuses on eliminating website links that are to sites with slow loading web pages.

 

Facebook’s new update to the News Feed algorithm will be looking at how fast links from different sources load and ranking the ones that are faster loading further up on the page. They hope that with this change, they’ll be able to make the user experience a lot better for their users. The change should allow users to spend a lot more time reading the stories that they find rather than waiting for pages to load.

 

Adding this new change came about since people looking for interesting articles to read and share online are often annoyed by stories that load up slowly. By implementing this change, Facebook will be able to decrease the reach of stories that load too slowly pressuring the sites to change the way that their pages load or to resolve to live without spreading on Facebook in a way that allows them to reach the highest number of users.

 

The changes to the News Feed will roll out slowly over the months to come, allowing different publishers to make any adjustments that will be needed to ensure that their links continue to come up on the News Feed in the future. The change may also benefit Facebook’s Instant Articles as these will be ones that will load up quickly meaning that publishers may choose to use this program instead of fixing problems with load times on their normal platforms.