Instagram Adds New Polling Feature with Emoji

Instagram Adds New Polling Feature with Emoji

Instagram is adding another fun feature that can connect friends and start conversations. They already had a polling feature, but they are now adding a new type of polling that works differently and uses emoji.

Emoji Slider is the new feature coming to Instagram, says Mashable. There was already a polling sticker on Instagram. However, that sticker simply let users type a question and let people respond with “yes” or “no.” This new Emoji Slider polling sticker works differently and allows for different responses.

According to Mashable, the Emoji Slider is also a sticker added to Stories. However, it gives a range of response options. When you add the sticker, you can add your own question. But instead of a yes or no question, the questions will typically start with “how,” like “How much did you love Infinity War?” or “How much do you like the new gelato place downtown?” After this, you pick which emoji you want to use on the slider. There are a lot of emoji to choose from, not just a handful of basic ones. Others will then be able to move an emoji along a slider to give their response. After responding, like with the other polling sticker, they can see how the responses are currently totaling up.

This makes polling on Instagram much more intuitive and fun. Only being able to answer “yes” or “no” was very constraining and didn’t allow for any nuance or gray area. Plus it will be fun to be able to ask questions in a different way and make the visuals more enjoyable.

Mashable notes that the Emoji Slider is available with Instagram’s version 44 update. And unlike many updates that roll out slowly to either iOS or Android users, it’s currently available to most people. To see if you have the feature, update Instagram now. If you have it, simply create a new Story, tap the Stickers button, and add the Emoji Slider from there.

10 Apps & Sites For Easily Earning Rewards

10 Apps & Sites For Easily Earning Rewards

The internet has made it easier to make money selling your stuff, but you may not know all the other ways you can earn rewards (including money) without selling a thing.

Not long ago, I wrote an article all about how to sell your items online. Now it’s time to talk about the many different ways you can earn money, gift cards, and items through different apps and websites.

There are a lot of different apps and sites that ask you to take certain actions to earn points or build up a cash total. In this article, let’s take a look at some of the most well-known, established, and tested ways you can earn rewards with just a little effort.

What can you earn?

Depending on the app or site that you use, there are many different things you can earn. Some services let you use your accumulated points to choose from certain branded items. Others might have you use your points to get discounts and promo codes. Many let you choose gift cards and, in some cases, actual money.

What do you have to do?

Different apps and sites ask for different actions. With some rewards services, you’re asked to watch or interact with sponsored content or surveys. You might need to exercise to earn your points, or you could get your rewards by getting rebates on purchases you were already going to make anyway.

What should you watch out for?

The idea of earning rewards for things you either already do or things that are relatively simple is very appealing. Because of this, there are some services that may very well be scams, as well as ones that just don’t work as well as they claim they will.

Before you start using a rewards app or site—including the ones listed in this article—look a little closer at it to make sure it’s actually as good as it appears. Consider doing some of the following things:

  • Make sure to read the reviews on an app’s page so you get an idea of how satisfied other users are
  • Check to see how many downloads an app has (too few might mean it hasn’t been well-tested yet)
  • Do a web search with a phrase like “is [this app] legit” or “is [this app] a scam” and look for credible sites discussing the service
  • Read the app’s or site’s fine print to make sure there are no catches
  • Look at the service’s app or site to make sure it looks professional and well-maintained

Remember: never give your personal information (like your bank information) to a service without researching it first to make sure it’s safe and secure!

At the time of writing this article, all of these apps and sites appear to be legitimate, but some formerly popular apps (like the now-deleted Pact app) have later been found to be untrustworthy. It’s important to check for the most recent reviews and news.

10 apps & sites you can download and visit now

Now that we’ve discussed how some rewards services might work, what you can get from them, and how to look out for scams, let’s look at some apps and sites you can try! These are just ten rewards apps and sites that can earn you money, items, and other rewards.

Achievement

Achievement is an app that rewards you with money for doing things that manage or improve your health. It uses monetary rewards to encourage you to keep track of your eating habits, walk more, get more sleep, and other various health-related activities. You simply connect one of the health apps you already use (like Samsung Health, Fitbit, or Garmin), then build up your points for your activity. 10,000 points can be redeemed for $10, and you can earn as much money as you want, with no maximum. Once you can redeem your points for money, they’ll be sent to you using PayPal or a direct deposit to a bank account.

AppTrailers

This app rewards you with points for watching trailers. The trailers are for other apps, as well as other entertainment videos. You can also earn points by doing quizzes and playing trivia games. Once you have enough points built up, you can redeem them for gift cards or money sent through PayPal. They offer gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, and iTunes.

Charity Miles

This app is different from most of the other apps on the list. If you enjoy helping good causes, you can use this app to earn rewards in the form of donations to the charity of your choice. If you already donate to the cause, you can give even more using this app, or you can use it as the sole means of donating. With Charity Miles, you earn money for a charity by running, walking, or biking. After opening the app and starting to track your distance, with each mile you complete, you add more money for your charity. There are many different charities to choose from, including well-known ones like Habitat for Humanity, American Diabetes Association, ASPCA, and World Wildlife Fund.

Ebates

Ebates is a well-known rebate service that pays you back for some of the purchases you make. If you’re already planning on purchasing something, this is a way to get some money back. When you buy from different stores online through Ebates, you can earn money. You can search through Ebates for certain stores, certain items, and more. There are also some rebate offers that are in-store only. Once you find something you want, you can see how much of a rebate you’ll get. After your order is verified, you can get your money through a check or by PayPal payment.

Google Opinion Rewards

This app from Google offers small amount of money for taking surveys. As soon as there’s an available survey, you’ll be notified. There are all kinds of different surveys you might take. You can earn as much as a dollar for a survey, though most of them seem to be closer to ten cents each. If you use the app with Google Play, your money is given to you as Google Play credit, while iOS app users have their money transferred with PayPal.

Ibotta

Ibotta is a rebate app that can be used to earn real money or gift cards. If you shop at any of the stores they have listed, you may be able to accumulate a high enough balance to get real rebates. You can use the app to get rebates on items you’re already buying, or you can use it as a way to find out about more products you want to try. You can find available grocery stores that you can add to your favorites, then look through the categories to find items you’re interested in. To add some products to your list, you might have to watch a short ad or answer a poll. After you’ve bought some items currently available in the Ibotta app, you use your receipt to add your rebates to your account. Once you have $20 racked up, you can have the money transferred to you in several different ways, including PayPal and Venmo. Or you can get gift cards to places like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart.

iPoll

iPoll offers rewards for performing activities like reviewing products, visiting certain stores, and more. All of their activities are typically based around learning your opinions on certain brands and products. Some of these activities could include recording a video or taking photos. Once you’ve performed an activity, you can earn rewards like money transferred through PayPal, gift cards, and entry into a cash drawing.

Swagbucks

Swagbucks rewards its users for doing a number of different things. Swagbucks users earn rewards for taking surveys, watching videos, searching online, playing games, and buying certain items for a rebate. Once you have enough points, you can either have the money transferred via PayPal, or you can get a gift card. Gift cards are available for many different outlets, including Walmart, Amazon, and Bath & Body Works.

Sweatcoin

This app hopes to encourage people to exercise more by offering rewards. The app acts as a step counter. The more you walk, the more “Sweatcoins” you earn. You can then use these Sweatcoins to purchase rewards. Rewards include actual products (like Apple products), as well as services (like exercise classes) and events. You can even choose to donate your Sweatcoins to a charity.

Walk for a Dog

Walk for a Dog by Wooftrax is another app that gives a different kind of reward: the knowledge that you’ve helped an animal-based organization. This app doesn’t specifically give you a reward, instead letting you donate money to your favorite organization that helps animals. Whenever you walk your dog, you simply use the app to track how much you walk. This builds up activity for the organization you’ve chosen. After a certain period, all the funds raised are given to the organizations people chose. If you don’t have a dog, you can walk a shelter dog or a friend’s dog. Or since the app simply follows you as you move, you can walk without a dog (though walking with a dog is much more fun).

Hulu & Spotify Reveal How Many People Pay to Subscribe

Hulu & Spotify Reveal How Many People Pay to Subscribe

Hulu and Spotify, streaming services that have begun offering bundles of their two services, have both revealed how many subscribers they have.

Hulu, the popular video streaming service, announced on Wednesday that they had more than 20 million subscribers, according to CNN Money. These numbers aren’t as high as Netflix’s, as CNN Money notes that Netflix has about 55 million subscribers in the United States. But the numbers still suggest Hulu is a decent competitor when it comes to the video streaming game.

They could also potentially gain more subscribers, as well, as some announced changes certainly seem enticing. Hulu, like Netflix, already has some of their own original programming (like the popular Handmaid’s Tale). Until now, though, Netflix offered something Hulu didn’t: offline watching. Hulu now plans to make content available to download and watch offline, says CNN Money. The content would still play with ads, but an internet connection wouldn’t be necessary.

Spotify announced their own numbers on Thursday. Spotify is a popular music streaming service that offers paid and free accounts. According to TechSpot, Spotify now has 75 million paid subscribers to their service, and the number of people who use the service every month is also huge: 170 million. And as TechSpot also mentions, Spotify’s 75 million paid subscribers is far above Apple Music’s 40 million. This only further cements Spotify as the major competitor in the music streaming arena.

Hulu and Spotify both offer their own separate subscriptions, but over the past months they’ve begun offering bundles, as well. Last year they began offering a student plan that bundled the two services for only $4.99 a month. And just last month, a bundle was announced for everyone else that would offer both services for just $12.99, which is higher than the student price but still a significantly less expensive option.

Alexa Skills Can Now Make Money

Alexa Skills Can Now Make Money

Developers of Alexa skills now have a way to make money off their offerings.

Alexa skills can now include money-making features, according to The Verge. If you use Alexa skills, you have probably noticed they’re all free. This is a refreshing change of pace from other services, like app stores on phones that can offer apps for large amounts of money. With Alexa’s available skills, you never have to worry about whether a skill you’ve found is going to end up costing you.

But now the developers of these skills do have some small ways to make money. The Verge notes that now skills can offer one in-skill purchase. This means they can have extra content or special features available for a cost. This can be a one-time fee or a subscription that continues. Compared to many apps, having one in-skill purchase is still a nice change of pace, since so many apps lock feature after feature behind a pay wall.

Developers can also now allow users of their skills to buy items. With Alexa, users could already use their voices to buy products from Amazon. But now they’ll be able to ask to buy things within other skills. This new feature will make use of Amazon Pay, letting developers offer a way to order through the skill. The Verge mentions that TGI Fridays and 1-800-Flowers are already making use of this new feature. With these skills, you can now directly place orders for the companies’ products.

While the skills themselves are still free (and there seem to be no plans to change this in the near future), adding a way for developers to make money through in-skill purchases and the use of Amazon Pay could end up being a big change. It could make Alexa skills seem more appealing to other developers who have yet to bring their ideas to the Alexa skill format. It may also make ordering items from companies other than Amazon much easier. Keep watch on Alexa’s skills to see which ones begin making use of these new capabilities.

Some Autoplay Videos Now Blocked in Chrome

Some Autoplay Videos Now Blocked in Chrome

Chrome has been making changes to how ads are displayed in the browser for some time now. In the most recent update of Google’s browser, some autoplay videos will now be blocked, while others will be allowed automatically.

In a blog post, Google outlines how the new autoplay video update works. Now Chrome will learn your preferences when it comes to videos that autoplay with sound. Using your browsing history, Chrome will start enabling or disabling autoplay videos with sound. If you typically choose to play videos on certain websites, Chrome will allow autoplay videos to run with sound. If you typically don’t watch the videos on a site, Chrome will start disabling their autoplay videos with sound.

Even if you don’t have a browsing history, the blog post says, certain sites will have their autoplay videos enabled or disabled as you start building your history. Whichever sites have the most people clicking to play videos with sound will automatically be enabled for you until the browser learns that you don’t want videos played on those sites.

This update comes after Google has already implemented many other ways to avoid certain ads and mute sites that autoplay ads with sound. In February, Chrome’s ad blocking system went live. Their ad blocking is meant to start automatically blocking certain ads that don’t meet their standards. And in January, Chrome introduced a way to permanently mute sites instead of just temporarily muting them while the tab was open.

All of these changes mean Chrome should soon become the browser to use if you specifically want to avoid annoying ads and autoplay videos (especially if you don’t want to deal with browser add-ons). In their blog post, Google notes that their new autoplay video blocking system will block “about half” of the autoplay videos that users want to avoid. Though not a full block of autoplay videos, it should cut down significantly on the annoyance of sound suddenly blasting from your device.

Microsoft Making It Easier to Take Screenshots

Microsoft Making It Easier to Take Screenshots

Windows 10 users may have just gotten the Spring update, but Microsoft is already talking about some of their upcoming plans. Microsoft has now announced they want to make taking screenshots easier and more intuitive.

In the past, users could open the Snipping tool and screenshot certain areas of their screen, then make some slight modifications before saving the image.

In a blog post, Microsoft outlined their plans for taking screenshots. In the future, Windows 10 users will be able to use a keyboard shortcut to open up a “snipping toolbar.” This snipping toolbar will let you screenshot whatever area of the screen you choose. The screenshot will then be saved to your clipboard so you can do whatever you’d like with it. The shortcut is WIN + Shift + S, but you’ll also have other options, including changing your settings to make the Print Screen button open the snipping toolbar.

The new snipping options will also integrate better with Screen Sketch. According to their blog post, Screen Sketch is now becoming its own separate app. With Screen Sketch, you can annotate your screen using a customizable pen, eraser, ruler, and more, then save your annotated image and share it. With the new snipping setup, you’ll be given the option to go straight to Screen Sketch to make your annotations.

These changes are just a few Microsoft is introducing in their Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17661. The preview build is only available to select people, including certain Windows Insiders. It’s unclear when the updates will come for everyone and what the changes will actually look like by then. But it is promising that Microsoft is specifically focusing on making their screenshot capabilities easier to use.

iTunes is Now in the Microsoft Store

iTunes is Now in the Microsoft Store

If you use Windows 10, you can now find iTunes in the Microsoft Store.

According to Ars Technica, iTunes is now available to Windows 10 users in the Microsoft Store. Ars Technica notes that bringing iTunes to the Microsoft Store was actually supposed to happen by the end of 2017, making its addition now a bit late. But it seems to be a welcome addition.

The program still works the same way as iTunes does if you download it straight from Apple, says Ars Technica, but they also note downloading from the Microsoft Store has some advantages. In particular, you won’t get prompts asking you to download other Apple products, plus it won’t install things that run in the background (which can seriously bog down a computer).

iTunes was previously available for Windows and MacOS. This means it was likely already accessible to many people who can find it in the Microsoft Store now. But there were also some people who now have access who didn’t before: those using Windows 10 S devices. Windows 10 S devices can only install programs from the Microsoft Store, so these users can now download iTunes. This is useful since iTunes is still a hugely popular service. It’s not just a music service, either; you can download music, movies, shows, podcasts, and more.

The Microsoft Store previously already offered other popular music programs. You could already find the streaming services Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, SiriusXM, TuneIn, and more. So if you’re simply interested in streaming and you have an account with any of these services, the addition of iTunes may not excite you much.

But if you specifically enjoy iTunes and like having a way to organize your media and access more than just music, this new platform may be good news for you. You can find iTunes in the Microsoft Store right now.

Google Makes Major Changes to Gmail

Google Makes Major Changes to Gmail

Gmail users on desktops and mobile devices are going to spot some major changes to the popular email service.

Gmail has now been updated to include some interesting (and welcome) new features. NBC News reports that there are a number of changes in the update. Though it doesn’t look all that different, there are some great new features.

Disappearing messages are one notable new feature. Gmail users can set their messages to disappear in whatever time frame they choose. And they can also decide to essentially “un-send” an email after already sending it to someone else (even if the other person isn’t using Gmail).

NBC News also reports that there’s a new “nudge” feature that reminds you about emails. Gmail will learn to recognize which emails are most pressing, then make them show at the top of your inbox to suggest you respond.

There are also other little additions, like the ability to get a reminder to reply to an email (using the new “snooze” feature) and “smart replies” that suggest what you might want to respond to a message with.

You can get this updated version of Gmail by clicking the settings button above and to the right of your inbox, then choosing “Try the new Gmail.” Once you click to switch over, you get the opportunity to choose a layout (including one that will look almost exactly the same as the one you’re used to). You might notice bigger, clearer fonts and more rounded buttons instead of quite a few links. You’ll also spot the sidebar on the right side that has a calendar, note keeper, list of tasks, and a plus sign that once clicked on lets you choose other tools to keep handy on your screen.

You’ll also soon spot one specific new feature from this update if you use Gmail on an Android device. Android Police reports that the new snooze feature is also rolling out Android users. Like the desktop version, you can snooze emails and get reminders to check back in on them later.

Look for the option to try the new Gmail on desktop now, and look out for the snooze feature on Android as it continues to roll out.

Amazon is Raising Prime Cost Again

Amazon is Raising Prime Cost Again

If you’re a Prime subscriber, take note: your yearly cost will soon go up.

Amazon’s new price jump for their Prime service isn’t particularly small, either: an annual subscription is soon going to be $119 instead of the current $99, says Variety. That’s $20 more than before, which is about a 20% increase.

Amazon Prime has a large number of subscribers. Digital Trends reported earlier this month that Amazon had revealed how many people subscribed to the service. At the time, it was reported that there were over a hundred million subscribers across the world.

Prime likely draws in so many people because it has features that appeal to many different interests. With Prime, you can get free two-day shipping on all Prime-eligible offers. You can also watch a great deal of TV shows and movies for free. This includes some Prime-exclusive shows, like their popular shows Sneaky Pete and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. You can also stream music and rent e-books. Plus you have access to things like Prime Pantry (where you can have household items and groceries sent to you), Amazon Fresh (grocery delivery in select areas), and photo storage in the cloud.

It’s unclear if Prime’s price hike will cause some subscribers to skip renewing in the future. It is a significant price increase, but Prime membership can also become embedded in peoples’ lives because of how many different things are offered.

If you’re considering subscribing for the first time, you have until May 11 to sign up at the current $99 fee, says Variety. They also explain that for current subscribers, rates won’t increase until June 16. So if you’re trying to decide whether to renew your membership or create a new one, you still have a little bit of time to decide before the price jumps.