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Snapchat now lets you add fun stickers to photos and videos

Back in March, Snapchat rolled out Chat 2.0, the highly-anticipated update that introduced stickers to the platform. Now you can add those same stickers to your Snaps.

The sticker collection includes colorful sloths, walruses with thought bubbles like “TGIF” and “When’s lunch?” and “basic” cartoon avocados. There are also classic nods to Snapchat like kittens vomiting rainbows. Noticeably missing, though, is the platform’s signature ghost icon.

To add a sticker, go to the note icon where you’d normally find emoji, next to the text icon. Stickers work the same way as emoji, but cuter and more expressive. According to Refinery29, you can even pin them to moving objects in videos, creating the illusion that the stickers are floating in space.

Letting snaps be customized with stickers is another example of what Snapchat has been nailing: making messaging fun and creative. The company recently added the ability to “pin” emojis to objects in videos and make them look animated. Snapchat has perhaps become best known for its wacky lenses, like the most recent collection that turns you into X-Men characters.

Source: Teen Vogue (http://www.teenvogue.com/story/snapchat-stickers-update-snap) and Tech Insider (http://www.techinsider.io/how-to-add-snapchat-stickers-to-snaps-2016-5)

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Microsoft Opens Up Skype for Business SDK

Microsoft has released a preview of the software development kit for its Skype for Business software, enabling developers to integrate instant messaging, audio and video calls into their existing iOS and Android applications using Skype’s technology.

The SDK was previewed at Microsoft’s Build 2016 conference, where the company hyped the ease of integration into native mobile apps that the SDK would bring, citing a pilot the company ran with online healthcare provider MDLive.

MDLive provides telehealth solutions aimed at connecting patients and physicians via mobile devices, and through its collaboration with Microsoft, the company was able to develop a secure system for patients and healthcare providers to communicate, share and review medical records, lab results and assessments.

“Skype for Business will provide MDLive with a much more scalable architecture, so we can accommodate even higher volumes of video consults daily,” said Randy Parker, founder and CEO of MDLive. “The adoption of Skype for Business also enables us to deliver a significantly improved user experience for both patients and physicians.”

The SDK preview’s initial focus is on powering ‘remote advisor’ solutions, enabling consumer mobile apps to communicate with businesses that already make use of Skype for Business elsewhere, and helping those businesses leverage the existing power of their infrastructure to communicate with customers like never before.

Looking ahead, the full SDK will combine the power of cloud voice, messaging and video meeting software with new cloud APIs, so that the software can be integrated across a range of web and device platforms, driving new ways of interaction.

“The Skype for Business team is always on the lookout for new ways to bring greater value to our customers,” said James Skay, senior product marketing manager for the Skype for Business team. “We look for new and innovative ideas that connect people together utilising the power of our platform.”

Source: Mobile Marketing, Article by Tim Maytom (http://mobilemarketingmagazine.com/microsoft-opens-skype-business-sdk/)

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Facebook Live Map gives unusual look at the world

A new feature on Facebook is giving the world insight into your life – and you may not even know it.

Truth be told, most people who post a Facebook Live video intend to be seen. But they may not know that they’re on a “Live Map” feature provided by Facebook itself. Currently, it appears to only work on desktop computers.

And as the name implies, it’s a live map of all public Facebook broadcasts around the world that have location enabled.

It turns out there are quite a few. It also turns out that there are a few recurring themes that you may spot while surfing through this very interesting video web.

Here are a few:

  • Church sermons: If you look around for any length of time, particularly on the U.S. portion of the map, you’ll find someone sitting in a pew videoing a sermon. You’re passing along a good word so good for you. Check with your local church before whipping out your phone though.
  • Driving posts:  And you thought texting was bad.  It turns out that some of Facebook’s greatest philosophers feel their best content comes from the open road – while they’re on it gazing back and forth from the road to the camera… I hope their insurance company isn’t watching.
  • People sitting in their living room: Hey, why not, this is where you spend your time so why not share it with the world.  Except it’s usually pretty mundane.
  • Live concerts: Every once in a while you’ll stumble on someone recording from a seat at a bar. It’s shaky, it’s not great sound and it might even be illegal depending on what the artist demands.  But hey, if you spot a live concert, give it a listen… But you may not want to do it yourself.
  • Live sports: You heard right.  By way of these new high tech video phones and a big screen TV in a living room in Juarez, Mexico, you can watch a major sporting event.  And recently, it appeared that hundreds did exactly that for a major soccer game.  Good thing for them the map doesn’t pinpoint the exact location.  I’m pretty sure they fine for things like that.
  • Drunk karaoke: One man in aviator sunglasses with beer in hand singing his heart out to someone – or in this case everyone – on Facebook.
  • Drunk everything else: Doing dumb things on a phone isn’t new. But thanks to technology, there are so many new ways to do it. Live. With video…
  • Moments in the club: Hit the Live Map in the late night and you’ll find one thing that’s pretty consistent. That’s darkly lit videos with flashing lights, possible people dancing and a monotonous beat.  Not quite the same as actually being there – or is it?
  • Freestyle rapping: Budding rappers are just a click away.  Wander through the videos long enough and you’re bound to spot or listen to one.  Quality varies.
  • Makeup tutorials: They’re not just for YouTube anymore! If you enjoy watching paint dry, you’re going to love this!

Of course, this is just a small list and obviously things can be very different from one moment to the next. But it may be worth checking out this map if you’re feeling nosy. You really never know what will pop up – for better or for worse.

Source: 11 Alive, Article by Christopher Buchanan (http://www.11alive.com/news/facebook-live-map-gives-unusual-look-at-the-world/202398488)

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More than 75% of App Downloads Open an App Once And Never Come Back

Turns out the download was the easy part.

It’s tough out there for an app maker. At least 1,000 new apps pour into the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store each day. Smartphone users download zero new apps in a typical month. A full 94% of revenue in the App Store comes from just 1% of all publishers.

Now comes the news that, even if you get people to download your app, fewer than 25% of them will return to it a day after first time they use it, according to a report from Appboy, a provider of mobile marketing software. Retention drops to 11% by the first week. In other words, app makers have one shot to impress new users, and the vast majority of them will never return.

That dynamic has created an app economy of “haves and have-nots.” A handful of successful apps like Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, and Google Maps dominate the app stores. Those apps are owned by just two companies—Facebook and Google.

Facebook and Google also happen to dominate the mobile advertising market, which includes app-install ads that entice people to download new apps. Analysts estimate those ads make up 30% of the $20 billion mobile advertising market. Facebook has made a quiet killing on app install ads, and recently, Google revealed plans to double down on the category.

And that’s the cruel irony of it: Not only do Facebook and Google dominate the app stores, they also make money from the sea of aspiring apps that are striving to dominate the app store themselves.

For app developers, the game feels rigged—it’s harder than ever to launch a hit app. Even if by some miracle your app is a hit, good luck getting people to keep using it.

Source: Fortune, Article by Erin Griffith (http://fortune.com/2016/05/19/app-economy/)

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The Snapchat Inc. application is displayed in the App Store on an Apple Inc. iPhone 6 in this arranged photograph taken in the Venice Beach neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. People using the application for disappearing photos view 8 billion videos a day, the same number that Facebook reports, the CEO Evan Spiegel told an audience at the Morgan Stanley technology conference Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Snapchat’s content feed could go algorithmic

Snapchat’s main content feed could soon get an algorithmic shakeup. According to sources, Snapchat has been working on updates to its platform that would affect professional or brand accounts and re-arrange the chronological flow of content you see from the accounts you follow.

Although it is currently unclear when the changes could be implemented, an update like this would bring Snapchat’s platform in line with Facebook’s News Feed, which ranks the content you interact with based on a number of factors and shows you more of the same. While the setup can often make it easier sort through the flood of content in your feed, it also offers ways for advertisers and publishers to buy a more visible location.

Snapchat currently boasts around 100 million daily active users, most of whom fall squarely in the coveted youth demographic, but only stories posted by partner publishers on the Discover tab are allowed to carry ads. In order to get in front of that audience, other brands and publishers run private accounts and attempt to grow their audiences organically by jumping into your Snapchat stream right alongside your friends.

An app update in March that allowed users to quickly flip through updates from all the accounts they are following might hint at what the future of Snapchat’s content stream might look like. According to Snapchat ad tech platform Delmondo, however, that update led to a 40 percent increase in views, but a 20 percent decrease in completion rate — meaning more people saw the content, but it was much easier to ignore.

Source: Engadget, Article by Andrew Dalton (http://www.engadget.com/2016/05/18/snapchats-content-feed-could-go-algorithmic/)

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