YouTube has a bunch of new features coming to its desktop as well as mobile platform. The massive update, announced in a blog post, comes along a new YouTube logo.
Design things first. The new YouTube logo is a transition from the previous, 12-year-old logo. The red highlight of the ‘Tube’ is no longer visible, but a similar icon, which is to portray a TV-esque graphic, sits next to ‘YouTube.’ Witness the new YouTube logo in all its glory on YouTube or right below.
Not only the logo, but the entire YouTube experience has been refined, all thanks to UI/UX Mavens over at YouTube. The updated YouTube desktop site has now adopted Material Design aesthetics officially. Until now what we knew is YouTube’s been testing Material Design since past few months. And the test is now finished for a stable build.
There’s also a new theme that you can turn on while watching videos, especially at night, and it’s called Dark Theme. The YouTube Dark Theme turns your background dark to give you a better cinematic look. Sounds cool? I love it actually!
There’s also tweaking in the YouTube mobile app, with tabs being moved to the bottom of the screen for quick access. It also added new Library and Account tabs. Oh, the header is white as well.
Now coming to the in-app features. Remember the 10-second forward/backward gesture in YouTube videos? Well, YouTube is adding more to gesture control. You’ll soon be able to play next or previous video by simply swiping to the right or left, respectively. The video speed toggle that allowed for custom playing speed on the web version of YouTube is now available on the mobile counter-part as well.
Plus, the YouTube video player will soon be a real responsive, adaptive player, with the ability to seamlessly change shape to match the video format currently playing, such as vertical, square or horizontal.
Do you like the new YouTube logo and desktop redesign?
Instagram’s new text-only Type feature for Stories now available
Instagram has added a new feature to Instagram Stories, allowing you to post text-only stories without any media asset like photo or video. Called “Type” mode, the new addition comes in a bunch of styles to choose from and behaves in a manner similar to regular stories. It’s all the same, actually — just without photo or video.
Simply open the Stories camera and tap “Type” (placed next to “Normal”) under the record button. And you’re there! Write your thoughts (or whatever you wish to!), and play with the look and feel of your story until you get the perfect piece. There’s a variety of inclusions, from different background colors to word highlights, which you have probably already seen while using Instagram Stories. In addition, you can also use new styles when adding text to any photo or video.
Facebook is shutting down its ‘M’ virtual assistant on January 19
Facebook has announced that it is shutting down M, its human-backed AI assistant, which lived inside the Messenger for two and a half years now. The M virtual assistant will be shut down on January 19, 2018.
Facebook’s M virtual assistant, announced back in 2015, was different from Siri or Google Assistant, with a dedicated team training and supervising the service. Therefore, M was able to do things like purchasing items, getting gifts delivered. The service was made available to about 2,000 people living in California, under the beta tag, of course. But M could never get rid of that label.
Facebook has issued the following statement regarding the shutdown of M, stating the project as an ‘experiment.’
We launched this project to learn what people needed and expected of an assistant, and we learned a lot. We’re taking these useful insights to power other AI projects at Facebook. We continue to be very pleased with the performance of M suggestions in Messenger, powered by our learnings from this experiment.
While you will no longer be able to see or use M in Messenger, the suggestions from M will still be available in the app, as mentioned above. M suggestions, which released for all users in the US last April, will continue to offer contextual content in your Messenger conversations. Suggestions from M are powered by AI and not humans, so the more you use it, the better it will get. It will be interesting to see upcoming AI projects from Facebook, with insights from M.
Facebook now rolling out ‘Explore Feed’ feature to mobile and desktop users
Facebook has begun rolling out a new “Explore Feed” feature to mobile and desktop users today. The feature had been under testing with a small number of users lately, and is now ready for global rollout, confirmed Facebook.
So, what exactly is Facebook’s Explore Feed?
As the name suggests, Explore Feed is a broader ground for discovering new content. While it sounds and works similar to Facebook’s News Feed, the content appearing in Explore Feed is from sources that you don’t currently follow. The content generated is heavily influenced by your past likes and shares. It’s an algorithmic thing, actually.
Here’s what Facebook has to say on Explore Feed:
“We are beginning to roll out a complementary feed of popular articles, videos, and photos, automatically customized for each person based on content that might be interesting to them,” the Facebook spokesperson said.
“We’ve heard from people that they want an easy way to explore relevant content from Pages they haven’t connected with yet.”
The Explore Feed segment is aligned along the left sidebar on desktop, while the mobile client has it housed in the “More” menu in navigation bar. The feature is on roll, and should reach to you anytime soon, if it hasn’t already.