New app innovations and lesser-known features across digital
In the world of digital, things change fast. So here’s a round-up of new app innovations and lesser-known features across some of the most popular platforms, keeping you up to speed as we enter the last quarter of 2020.
Snapchat and hands-free video recording
There’s a little trick for iPhone owners that means they don’t need to hold their finger on the shutter button to record videos in Snapchat. It’s called AssistiveTouch and it has many other uses too, particularly if the home button is out of action. For Android Snapchat users, the assistive touch is available via a free app, but I can’t confirm whether it works in the same way for hands-free Snapchat video.
How to use AssistiveTouch on iPhone for Snapchat video:
• Open the Settings App and select General
• Tap Accessibility and select AssistiveTouch – then you’ll get a white dot appear on the screen.
• Switch AssistiveTouch ‘On’ and then tap Create New Gesture
• Tap and hold on the centre of the screen in a very tight circular pattern until the recording bar is full
• Tap ‘Save’ at the top right and name this gesture with a memorable related tag name and then tap ‘Save’
• Go to the Snapchat recording screen and tap on AssistiveTouch bubble
• Select ‘Custom’ and then select your named gesture, you’ll see a new circular icon
• When you’re ready to record your Snapchat video, drag and drop it onto the capture button
• Now you’re able to record without using your hands!
Search limits on LinkedIn
Did you know that it’s possible to run out of profile searches on LinkedIn? I didn’t until recently, when after a period of unusually high activity, it told me so. Last year, LinkedIn were letting any user, regardless of type, see the full names of third degree profiles on their search results. Previously only premium account users had this ability. But a few months ago, LinkedIn set search usage levels. A search limit that runs out every month and indicates to them that you may be utilising the platform for prospecting or recruitment – for which LinkedIn would like you to pay, understandably. A warning appears when a user is close to the ‘commercial use limit’ and then a message when the limit has been reached. Once you are at that search limit, you are still able to search, but the results that are returned to you are greatly reduced. Your personal free monthly search allowance will then reset on the 1st of each calendar month.
Google query limit
When you type something into Google, it is a ‘search query’. A lot of people won’t know that there is a limit to the number of words that can be included in that query and that is 32. Following the 32nd word, any additional words will be ignored. Each word within that is also limited to 128 characters in itself. It’s not a restriction that is going to regularly impact users of the search engine, but say, for example, you wanted to find the origin of a long passage of text from an unknown source, it might be too long for a search query once you’ve pasted it in. The limit used to be a lot smaller years ago.
Facebook tracking setting roll-out
A lot of us know, or will at least have suspected that Facebook tracks the websites we visit, even if we have logged out of Facebook itself. This means, if you head to a website that contains a Facebook pixel after logging out of Facebook, your web browser will still send personally identifiable information back to Facebook and store it. As Facebook owns the WhatsApp and Instagram platforms too, it can gather information in those apps as well and then amalgamate it with the Facebook data.
Following some legal investigations in recent years, Facebook is now making an effort to help users clear the stored data it keeps from their online activity. An ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ section, within the social media site’s settings, will provide a summary of the websites and apps that share your online visit history with Facebook and allow you to delete it. The only problem is that your browsing data won’t actually be removed for 48hrs and even then, it won’t actually be deleted from Facebook’s servers. When selected, the Off-Facebook Activity control simply separates the information from your personal profile. This is so that advertisers can still access campaign analytics.
Google Maps dark theme
Google has already made a dark theme available on some of its other apps like YouTube, Chrome and Google Calendar. A dark theme helps to conserve battery life, blue light and reduce eye strain in dark conditions, so many people opt to use this when they are not in bright light already. Some phones will even automatically switch to using a dark theme for apps when it has been put into battery saver mode. Google Maps does have a dark theme in place, but only in the navigation mode when the user is driving and following a route. But now it seems that in version 10.50, a new appearance menu may become available to users, giving three setting options: default to device theme, light theme and, dark theme. So watch out for that one when it launches as both Android and iPhone fully support dark themes.
Hootsuite enables Instagram Stories scheduling
The social media scheduling tool, popular with businesses, has finally launched the ability to create and schedule Instagram Stories content. You can now create and schedule up to ten images or videos in a single post with Hootsuite, as long as you publish it via their mobile app. Really they are a bit late to the party, with apps Later and Storrito already having been able to do this for a while now, but it’s still good news. Instagram Stories can also be built via desktop Hootsuite, but you have to have both the Hootsuite and Instagram mobile apps to complete the publishing process. A push notification from the Hootsuite app will tell you when your story is scheduled to be put live and then you publish it with a few further clicks. At least you get time to correct any mistakes you spot before it goes live!
Here are the instructions to schedule an Insta Story via Hootsuite. And if you need some advice on using Instagram for business, head back to this post about it.
And to finish, a little Twitter thing…
Finishing a tweet with an empty hashtag is called a “Hangtag”. We’re not sure why people would even do this, but there we are!
Rachael Dines, Director of Shake It Up Creative