Another Snapchat Redesign is Coming

Another Snapchat Redesign is Coming

If you use Snapchat but have been frustrated with it recently, there’s some good news. Snapchat is getting a redesign…again.

You may remember how Snapchat released their new redesign in some areas back in January. When it was first released, it was only in some countries, like the UK, and the change immediately caused an uproar. Users began pleading with Snapchat to let them revert back to the old system. And once it rolled out in the US, even more people began venting their frustration, which lead to Snapchat making it clear the redesign was here to stay.

The main problem stemmed from the way Stories were suddenly mixed in with messages. It made the design cluttered and unnecessarily difficult to navigate for many users. People wanted their Stories and messages to be laid out in a more organized way (they were separate from each other before the redesign).

Now, according to The Verge, some users are getting a new version rolled out to them that should address some of the concerns. The new update is currently rolling out to many iOS users, The Verge reports. In the new update, Stories and messages will go back to chronological order, and the Stories will be on the right side of the app once again.

This should hopefully eliminate some of the complaints that have been pouring in for months. Of course, Snapchat has already had to deal with months of mockery and frustration. Social media has been filled with memes and jokes at Snapchat’s expense after their poorly-received redesign, and users were likely not happy with Snapchat’s response saying that they would be keeping the new version despite the users’ anger.

The Verge notes that the newest update is currently coming for many people on iOS, but it’s not currently clear when Android users can expect the change.

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.

Instagram Adds New Features & Will Let You Download Data

Instagram Adds New Features & Will Let You Download Data

Instagram has been in the news very recently for their newest updates and for a recent announcement. Instagram users will now be able to use some new features, and they’ll also soon be able to download copies of their entire data history.

Reuters reports that Instagram, which is part of Facebook Inc, will soon let its users download their data. This announcement comes while Facebook is dealing with the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal (which you can learn more about in my recent articles “Third-Party Data on Social Media” and “Facebook and Its Data Scandal”). Because of the mishandling of their data, Facebook users (and users of many different social media platforms) have become much more concerned with how their data is being used. This has led to many updates from Facebook on how third-party apps and user data will be handled. And now Instagram has joined in with their plans.

Reuters reports that Instagram users will be able to download data like photos, videos, and messages. There’s currently no word on when this tool will be made available.

Meanwhile, Instagram has added some new features. According to TechCrunch, Instagram’s new update includes a new filter called Focus. Focus is a portrait mode that can be used in Instagram’s camera to take both photos and videos. It blurs the background of a portrait photo, making the subject of the photo stand out more sharply. This style was previously available in other apps and on certain phones. With Instagram’s Focus feature, though, more people will be able to take portrait photos.

They’ve also added stickers for mentions, says TechCrunch. This feature is currently rolling out for people using iOS. Instead of simply tagging someone using text, you’ll now be able to tag them using a sticker. This makes Instagram posts a little more customizable and fun. It’s not clear when everyone will gain access to these stickers.

Instagram Is Working On How It Organizes Feeds

Instagram Is Working On How It Organizes Feeds

Instagram is now planning to make users’ feeds arrange a little differently than they have been. Instagram announced in a blog post that they’ll be changing a couple different aspects of peoples’ feeds.

The social media and photo app has made quite a few changes to their service over the past months. One major change that Instagram implemented back in December focused on what kinds of posts would be shown in feeds. As I wrote in my article, recommended posts were added to Instagram. These recommended posts are displayed in feeds based on whether a user’s friend has liked them. This was a pretty huge change for some people, since it allowed unfamiliar content to show up in feeds.

Now Instagram is working on changing feeds to improve them and address other user concerns. In their blog post, these upcoming changes are explained. One major change to Instagram feeds will be the emphasis on newer posts. Right now, posts are fairly mixed up. Older posts (from days ago) can be mixed in with posts from just minutes earlier. With Instagram’s planned change, though, newer posts would be more likely to show up at the top of someone’s feed. Though Instagram isn’t announcing a completely chronological feed, this change will be a welcome step to having posts feel more current.

They also note another change to feeds: no more forced automatic refreshing. Currently, users might open the app and have the page suddenly refresh without any way to stop it. So if you see a post you’re interested in, you might suddenly be taken away from it. Instagram is going to address this by adding a “New Posts” button. This will give users the option to refresh if they want to. If you use the button you’ll jump up to the top of your feed.

The “New Posts” button is testing now, according to Instagram, and they currently plan to continue to improve how feeds work.

Snapchat Adding New ‘Map Explore’ Feature

Snapchat Adding New ‘Map Explore’ Feature

Snapchat is adding a feature to its app. The new feature being added to Snapchat, called Map Explore, brings an interesting new way to keep up with (and locate) your friends.

The Verge is reporting that Map Explore has now been introduced. Map Explore, according to The Verge, lets users find out where their friends are, see where some breaking news is happening, and more.

Snap Map, the maps feature on Snapchat, was introduced last summer. With Snap Map, people could move around and see Snaps that were being posted in various locations. This included being able to see your friends’ Snaps on the map. Though Snap Map is a popular feature, it’s important to point out that users can choose to hide their location. So if you’re someone with privacy concerns (and who might not have gotten around to noticing Snap Map yet), no worries—location sharing is optional with Snapchat’s map feature.

If you don’t mind sharing your location and checking out where other people are, Map Explore could improve your Snapchat experience. With Map Explore, The Verge explains, you can be alerted to what’s happening on the Snap Map. Snap is quoted as saying that this update was introduced because users previously had to search around to find things. This update will make it easier to find interesting Snaps instead of wondering where to look. Alerts about updates will be based on your friends doing something (posting a Snap or a Story, for instance) with location turned on. After 8 hours of inactivity, their location won’t be shown on the map anymore.

Breaking news and other interesting happenings will also be easier to find. Users will be able to get updates about Our Story content. This means you’ll be able to find out quickly when interesting things are happening anywhere in the world (as long as someone is Snapping it).

The Verge mentions that the new update will be arriving for people through the coming weeks. So if you don’t have the update yet, don’t panic—it will be coming soon.

Which Photo Editing App Should You Use?

Which Photo Editing App Should You Use?

Our cameras are a hugely important feature on our devices these days, but have you figured out which app can best help you edit the photos you take?

There are a lot of photo editing apps out there, and some social media platforms (like Facebook and, obviously, Instagram) have some editing features already built in. But these apps might not do everything you want. Since you’ve likely already seen what Facebook and Instagram have to offer, I’ll skip them for this article—but make sure to consider whether you’re getting all you need from those apps already.

If you’re looking for an app to make it easier to work with your photos, take a look at the following apps to see which is best for you!

Adobe Photoshop Express (Android or iOS)

Cost: Free
What it offers: Adobe’s mobile version of their staple program, Photoshop, can do a lot. It’s suggested that it’s mostly for professional use, as opposed to being just for casual, fun photo editing. You can use it to do things like create collages, make basic tweaks (crop, rotate, etc.), fix blemishes, add filters, make corrections, add a watermark, and much more. There’s a lot you can do with this app.

AirBrush (Android or iOS)

Cost: Free
What it offers: This app is intended to be used by those who enjoy taking selfies and pictures with their friends. It’s specifically designed to let users make cosmetic edits. You can do things like hide blemishes, whiten teeth, make skin glow, add filters, and more.

Photo Editor Pro (Android)

Cost: Free
What it offers: You can use this app to make a wide variety of fun edits. You can add things like stickers and text, make collages, add filters and frames, make basic edits (crop, rotate, etc.), and more. They also specify that it’s a useful app for making memes.

PhotoDirector Photo Editor App (Android or iOS)

Cost: Free
What it offers: This app claims you can use it to make your smartphone photos look as though they were taken “on a Canon or Nikon.” You can do things like make collages, remove unwanted objects in photos, add photo effects, make basic tweaks, and more. You can even use the in-app camera to add effects while you’re taking a photo.

PicsArt Photo Studio (Android and iOS)

Cost: Free
What it offers: Using PicsArt, you can make a wide variety of fun edits to your photos. You can make collages using free templates, make basic edits, add filters and frames, add stickers and clipart, make your own stickers, draw on your photos, take photos with the in-app camera, and more.

Pixlr (Android or iOS)

Cost: Free
What it offers: This app can help you make useful edits, and it can also let you make fun changes to your photos. You can create collages using customizable templates, combine photos, fix color and add filters, retouch photos, make basic edits, add cartoons and text, add borders, and much more.

Snapseed (Android or iOS)

Cost: Free
What it offers: Snapseed, Google’s mobile photo editor, lets you make “professional” edits to your photos. You can do things like add filters, retouch photos, adjust color, make basic edits, add text, add glow to portraits, change the photo’s style, add frames, and more.

Face Filters Are Everywhere

Face Filters Are Everywhere

These days more and more platforms are giving its users fun effects for their photos. At this point, three particularly popular social media apps allow us to overlay our faces with silly filters, maybe letting us turn ourselves into cats or football players or doe-eyed woodland creatures. Snapchat is the obvious app of the three, but Instagram and Facebook are in the face filter arena, as well. Each app has its own special face filters, so let’s look at what these three apps have to offer.

Snapchat

Snapchat, the popular photo-based app, is likely the first app you think of when you see a picture of someone with dog ears or a brightly glowing flower crown. Snapchat centers on being able to send your pictures to your friends, add them to a group message, save them to your photo story, and more, all without any real permanence. Photos on Snapchat, unless you remember to save them to your private memories, only last for a brief amount of time before they are gone forever. Here’s what you need to know about their face filters:

  • Snapchat adds and removes face filters regularly
  • Filters are often chosen based on current events and seasons
  • Some face filters can be placed on multiple people within a photo
  • Some filters have sound or music
  • Filters often include full-body animations that place your face in the appropriate location, usually incorporating music
  • Snapchat filters can be recorded as video, and they often have voice changers attached
  • Like other photos you take on Snapchat, you can save them to your Memories and you device

Instagram

Instagram is best known for letting users apply toned and/or textured filters to photos that have already been captured. But earlier this year, Instagram added special features to its in-app camera, allowing us to take pics with silly or cute face filters. Here’s what you can expect from Instagram’ face filters:

  • Instagram adds new face filters often, though not as often as Snapchat
  • Many of Instagram’s face filters are styled like doodles
  • Some filters can be placed on multiple people within a photo
  • Instagram’s face filters can be used while also using their other features, like Boomerang (a looping video) and Rewind (a video played in reverse)
  • After adding a face filtered photo (or any other photo) to your story, you can add linkable hashtags on top

Facebook

Facebook joined in on the face filter fun, as well. After I found out Facebook added face filters, I realized Facebook might just take over my life, considering they seem to be integrating a little bit of everything into their app. Facebook’s in-app camera has several special features, but personally, I find their face filters to be the best reason to open their camera and snap a photo. Here’s what to look for when you’re checking out Facebook’s face filters:

  • Facebook already has a large number of face filters available
  • Many (though not all) of Facebook’s face filters are bulkier than Instagram or Snapchat filters, covering much of the face instead of adding small details
  • Facebook features several pop culture filters (like the current Game of Thrones and Justice League filters)
  • Some of Facebook’s face filters include sound
  • Some filters include a voice changer
  • Video can be recorded while using Facebook’s face filters

The Verdict

All three apps are pretty similar. They all allow video recording while using face filters, they all have quite a few face filter options, they all offer some sounds, and even some of their filters look alike. But each app has its own feel and special features. Snapchat offers new filters so regularly that it would be difficult to become bored with their offerings. Instagram has options like Boomerang available. And Facebook has cool branded filters (one of which can make you look like a white walker). Try them all out and see what you think—then you might decide which you like best, or you might do what I’ve done and just use all three.