Pinterest search goes visual, Facebook Lite expands reach, Apple releases new iOS 10.3 beta and more
Each week we round up the top news stories, think pieces and other content that centers on the fast-paced, quickly changing world of mobile technology. We tell you which companies are employing clever mobile strategies, illuminate new ways of thinking about mobile and offer a peek at meaningful trends in the industry. This content is designed to inspire you and your company to take advantage of the many benefits mobile can offer.
Facebook Lite Expands its Reach
The Facebook Lite app, which allows users to access select content and features on low-bandwidth networks, is expanding its reach to include Israel, Italy, United Arab Emirates and South Korea. Since Facebook Lite launched in June 2015 to a limited set of countries, the app has gained significant traction, boasting 200 million users. What’s more, revenue for the app is up 52 percent this year, bringing in $839 million per quarter.
Meanwhile, the company continues to add new features to its flagship app to drive even more usage. Most recently, Facebook introduced location based weather updates to users’ newsfeeds on mobile and desktop.
YouTube Makes Moves for Mobile Growth
Last week, YouTube announced that its mobile livestreaming service is now open to any user with over 10,000 subscribers. This expansion should grant access to hundreds of thousands of users, according to Google. YouTube plans to make mobile livestreaming available to all users, but it is unclear when the feature will be opened to everyone.
Separately, YouTube officially launched a new app, called YouTube Go, which allows Android users to download videos for offline viewing. Ultimately, this new app makes it easier for users to access YouTube content on-the-go without burning through mobile data.
Pinterest Launches Visual Search
The social platform has officially moved beyond simple text searches to help users find what they want. Last week, Pinterest added three new features that allow users to leverage visual search to find more of what they’re interested in:
- Lens: With the snap of their smartphone camera, users can discover pins that are similar to their own shot. Additionally, it has the ability to understand the context of images – for example, a single clothing item could bring up full outfit ideas, while a picture of food might show relevant recipes. According to the company, the visual search feature can identify over one billion items. Right now, it’s in beta for US-based iOS and Android users.
- Shop the Look: Users will now find a blue circle on any pin connected to a product. When they click on it, they’ll get shopping recommendations from Pinterest itself or from the brands Pinterest currently partners with, like Target and Macy’s. For now, Shop the Look is only accessible for US users.
- Instant Ideas: Available globally, Instant Ideas is all about adapting to a user’s search interests as they browse through the platform. The real-time personalization is activated when a user clicks on the icon at the bottom of a pin.
iOS 10.3 Beta is Available
Apple introduced the second iOS 10.3 beta, which is now available for registered developers and public beta testers. The update comes with a number of new features including support for Find My Airpods, improved CarPlay, easily accessible security settings and more. iOS 10.3 also marks the rollout of new app store features that limit the number of rating requests and allows developers to reply to reviews.
Google May Purge Apps in Violation of User Data Rules
Developers take note: Google is cracking down on Play Store apps that violate its policy on user data. The move is meant to eliminate those not adhering to Google’s policy, but may also help eliminate app store clutter. Some are applauding the move, saying it’ll help users better find what they’re looking for. The company started sending out notices last week, and March 15 is the deadline to update apps. After that, any apps that don’t comply may become “less visible” to users or be taken out of the store altogether.