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Posts tagged ‘Instagram’


Apple is reportedly developing a social video app

Deep in the bowels of Apple HQ, the company is reportedly developing a new video-editing and sharing application. According to Bloomberg, it’s similar to Snapchat, allowing iPhone users to quickly record video, apply filters and scribble messages on top with their finger. The app is being optimized for one-handed use, a source tells the site, with a workflow that you can plow through — from shooting to sharing — in under a minute.

Snapchat and Instagram are hugely popular, and Apple wants to accommodate this sort of casual sharing in its own software. Bloomberg says it’s being developed as a standalone app, but could end up as a feature in the existing camera application. The report has stressed, however, that the app may never see the light of day. Apple has killed projects before while they were still in development, and could do the same here if the app doesn’t meet its expectations. The team is said to be striving for a 2017 release, and any delays could also result in its cancellation.

Bloomberg’s report also mentions an improved “proactive assistance” feature which, separate to the new video app, would help people to stay in touch with their closest friends and family. The company is trying “to make sharing and connectivity with contacts a system-wide feature,” the publication writes, and would include “single panels” where you could review all of your texts and emails from a specific person. Its release is dependent on approval from Apple’s internal privacy team, however.

Apple’s challenge is to develop software that’s relevant and appealing to iPhone users. The company has long-struggled to build market-leading applications and services — it’s why most people stuff the pre-installed iOS apps into a folder (or, now, remove them from their device entirely.) Hardware is but one piece of the smartphone puzzle — to keep millions of people smitten with the iPhone, it needs to build compelling apps too.

Via: The Verge

Source: Bloomberg


Prisma’s arty photo filters now work offline

There’s a lot going on behind the curtain with Prisma, the app that turns your banal photos into Lichtenstein- or Van Gogh-esque artworks. The app actually sends your cat photo to its servers where a neural network does the complex transformation. Starting soon, that will no longer be necessary, though. “We have managed to implement neural networks to smartphones, which means users will no longer need an internet connection to turn their photos into art pieces,” the company says. Only half of Prisma’s styles will be available offline at first (16 total), but others will be added in the “near future.”

Running the algorithms locally will speed things up (depending on your smartphone), help folks with poor internet service and free up valuable CPU cycles on its servers. The latter benefit will allow its tech to work with video, in a later release, Prisma adds. “Now that we’ve implemented neural networks right to the smartphones, we have enough servers capacity to run full videos on them in the near future.”

Now that we’ve implemented neural networks right to the smartphones, we have enough servers capacity to run full videos on them in the near future.

Prisma claims it’s the first to implement neural network tech on a smartphone, and that “no team or company has ever done anything close.” That, it says, opens up AI to developers without access to server farms, meaning “we will see [a lot more] new products based on neural networks.” Companies like Google and Apple may beg to differ, as they have already implemented smartphone AI for translation, voice recognition and more.

52 million folks have installed Prisma and 4 million use it daily, according to the company. Much as Snapchat has done, it plans to monetize the app via brand filters, while keeping it free for users. The offline processing speed depends on which smartphone you have — Prisma says it takes six seconds for the iPhone 6s to repaint a photo and a bit more for the iPhone 6s. The new features will arrive to iOS shortly and hit Android after that.

Update: Prisma originally said that it takes 2.5 seconds for an iPhone 6s to process a photo and three seconds for an iPhone 6. However, it now says the transformation takes six seconds on the iPhone 6s and a bit longer with the iPhone 6. The post has been updated with this information.


Instagram Apes Snapchat Again With New ‘Events’ Channel

Instagram has introduced a new “Events” channel in the Explore section of its app that highlights user photos and video clips captured during specific events from around the world.

Currently only available in the U.S., the new channel implements an algorithm to curate media from events like sports games and concerts, based on a user’s preferences and habits, according to a post on the company’s site.

Snapchat users may be experiencing a case of déjà vu all over again at this point, given that the new Instagram feature is extremely similar to the rival app’s Discover channel “Live Stories”, where reels of photos and videos are shared publicly by users at a particular event.

The addition of the new feature by Instagram certainly follows a trend. Earlier this month, the Facebook-owned photo and video sharing platform announced “Instagram Stories”, which functions identically to Snapchat’s Stories in that it lets users post customized images and videos on their profile, where they live for 24 hours before disappearing completely.

Surprisingly, Instagram has been upfront about its recent tendency to imitate Snapchat features. While demoing its new Stories feature for TechCrunch, Instagram CEO Kevin Systro admitted that Snapchat “deserve all the credit”.

Tag: Instagram
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New algorithm finds signs of depression in your Instagram feed

While Instagram data can already be used to guess your age, a new research paper shows how it might also be used to check upon your mental health. Using a set of machine learning tools and several dozen users’ Instagram feeds, a team of researchers from Harvard and the University of Vermont have built a model that can accurately spot signs of clinical depression. By reviewing “color analysis, metadata components, and algorithmic face detection,” in each user’s feed, the model was able to correctly identify which Instagrammers showed symptoms of depression about 70 percent of the time, even before they had been clinically diagnosed.

The model had to sift through 43,950 photos from 166 different users in order to make its predictions. And, before everyone becomes an amateur Instagram psychologist, the research team notes that their model isn’t meant to be a definitive diagnosis of depression just yet. Instead, the paper notes that the model could be used for “early screening and detection of mental illness” and could one day “serve as a blueprint for effective mental health screening in an increasingly digitalized society.” In other words: if your phone’s digital assistant has access to your Instagram feed, it might one day be able to tell if you’ve been seeming blue lately.

And that “blue” could be in the literal sense — although the model took many factors into account, the study found that depressed individuals tended to gravitate towards the the blue-grey or black-and-white filters like Crema or Inkwell, while healthy folks preferred filters with warm, bright tones.

Via: PetaPixel



Instagram adds event video channels to the ‘Explore’ feed

Instagram wants you to know it’s more than just photos; it’s about videos too. That’s why the app has been investing quite a bit in surfacing them more in its Explore tab. Earlier this year, it added a video channel for easier to find clips and further sorted them into 23 different categories, such as dogs, comedy and travel. Now Instagram has added yet another way to find interesting videos: through events.

Starting today, the Explore tab will have an events video channel that showcases the latest and greatest footage from events around the world. That could include concerts, sporting events, theater performances and more. So you could theoretically look for clips taken during festivals like Lollapalooza, or a concert in another city, and watch them right on Instagram.

The feature will only be available in the US to start. Like the rest of Explore, the videos you see in the tab will be personalized for your particular tastes, so it’ll float what it thinks are clips of of your favorite events to the top.


Instagram’s new tools help you reach out to stores

Plenty of businesses operate on Instagram, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could reach out to them on Instagram beyond posting a comment and hoping they’ll notice? You’ll get to do that soon. Instagram has reportedly started rolling out promised business tools that will help you get in touch. Shops that set up a business profile will have a “contact” button that helps you call, email or text a business without having to find the details on the company’s website (or hope that the company includes some in its bio). If you see a tantalizing dessert photo and want to know whether or not the restaurant’s still open, it’ll be trivially easy to get an answer.

The feature appears to be deploying in Europe at first, with Australia, New Zealand and the US due in the “coming months.” Everyone else will see them by the end of the year. We’ve asked Instagram for details and will let you know if it can say more.

Whenever the toolset is available in your corner of the world, it’ll also carry some features you might not appreciate. Analytics (to help companies see which posts are working) are good, but the features also let companies promote posts as ads. Like it or not, you may see more local stores hawking their wares in between friends’ food photos and the usual celebrity endorsements.

Source: Wired


Instagram Stories arrive on the web thanks to a Chrome extension

While we wait to see if Instagram will bring its new Snapchat-like Stories feature to the web, someone has already created a workaround. Thanks to Alec Garcia’s Chrome IG Story extension, you can view those posts from the comforts of your browser. Sure, you’ll have to use Google Chrome in order to make it happen, but once you activate the add-on, Instagram stories will appear atop your feed just like they do in the mobile app.

The functionality is slightly different that what you’ve likely seen on your phone. Clicking a profile picture brings up the Story for that user. From there, you can click or use the arrow keys to scroll through, but there’s no way to move on to the next post unless you exit out of what you’re viewing. Right clicking on a profile image will allow you to download the story. Instagram hasn’t always taken kindly to feed-reading apps and plug-ins that use its APIs, so this browser extension may not be around for long.

Since its introduction, Instagram has always taken a mobile-first approach. The app was available for a while before posts were viewable on the web. Even then, you couldn’t take a gander at your feed in a browser until a few months later. The social photography app has embraced web users to a certain degree though, redesigning profiles and adding both search and notifications over the last year. Only time will tell if Instagram will make stories available in your browser in an official capacity.

Via: The Next Web

Source: Chrome Store


Instagram Begins Experimenting With ‘Save Draft’ Feature for Posts

Instagram recently began testing a much-requested new feature that lets users save drafts of potential posts on the social network, instead of having to completely discard edits made to any photo (via TechCrunch). A small number of users mentioned seeing the “Save Draft” feature as far back as July, but Instagram seems to have expanded its testing phase in early August, without rolling it out wide yet.

The process itself to save a draft is fairly simple: after adding any filter or other fine-tuned edits to a picture, hitting the back button now prompts users with a dialog box saying, “If you go back now, your image edits will be discarded.” Users can choose to ditch the photo, or now save the draft to work on again and post at a later time.

Saved drafts appear at the top of the camera roll when returning to post something to Instagram, and can be deleted permanently by tapping “See All,” which shows every draft saved on the current account. Unfortunately, as one user discovered, Instagram is treating “Save Draft” more along the lines of an experimental test rather than slow public rollout and remained coy on its plans, telling TechCrunch, “We’re always testing new ways to improve the Instagram experience,” with no further details provided.

Instagram drafts
The company has been updating its popular app with major additions and changes over the last few weeks. Earlier in August, it added “Instagram Stories” to its roster of photo-sharing abilities, bringing it directly in competition to Snapchat’s 24-hour feed of “Stories.” Before that, Instagram revealed a plan to introduce customizable comment moderation features on user posts so each can tweak rules to their liking, since “different words or phrases are offensive to different people.”

Tag: Instagram
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Instagram could soon be rolling out a ‘Save Draft’ feature

If you’re an avid Instagram user, you know it can sometimes take a few tries before you come up with the perfect post. But as it stands right now, if you back out of a screen in the app, you’ll lose any image edits. Instagram is changing this by introducing a feature you may soon be using extensively: “Save Draft.”

Only a few Instagram users are able to take advantage of the new “Save Draft” option just yet, though it seems additional users are seeing it pop up as the month goes by. Right now the company has confirmed to TechCrunch that the feature is indeed “just an experiment” for right now, but that doesn’t discount it popping back up again in the future as part of an update in the future or something to that effect.

Despite the excitement surrounding the test, it seems that unfortunately drafts aren’t in the cards definitively just yet, but Instagram is watching, and gauging the reaction to them, no doubt. So keep an eye out. It could be happening soon.

Via: TechCrunch


ICYMI: Google’s so much closer to delivery by drone

ICYMI: Google's so much closer to delivery by drone

Today on In Case You Missed It: Google’s Project Wing is about to take off now that the US Government signed off on the company testing drone delivery within the country; perfect timing for Google’s commercial launch of the service sometime in 2017. Physicists from the University of New Mexico created a laser that can cool a crystal down to negative 296 degrees Fahrenheit, which could be useful for infrared detectors on satellites or to detect skin cancer.

In case you didn’t see Instagram’s video launching its new story function, you should see it just to sound informed when your friends talk about whether the company blatantly stole from Snapchat. Then wash that all down with YouTuber Eric Mouellic’s video showing how close he came to a huge fin whale. As always, please share any interesting tech or science videos you find by using the #ICYMI hashtag on Twitter for @mskerryd.


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