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By Abhay V
WhatsApp brings theme-aware chat backgrounds, new stickers, and more
by Abhay Venkatesh
WhatsApp is rolling out an update to mobile users that brings with it a bunch of new customization improvements and updated stickers. The customization improvements include new images for chat backgrounds, the ability to set a custom background for individual chats, and more. There are also enhancements to the sticker search feature and new stickers as well.
The service has for long offered users the option to set chat backgrounds. However, those images applied to all chats. That changes now, as the app will now let users apply individual chat background to conversations. The firm says that the feature will help users distinguish the chats thanks to the custom wallpapers and prevent them from “sending the wrong message in the wrong chat”.
Additionally, the default doodle wallpaper is also being offered in more colors, accompanying other new images in the library. The app will also let users set wallpapers for dark and light modes that switch automatically depending on the themes.
As for stickers, the Facebook-owned firm is adding the “Together at Home” sticker pack – created in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) – as an animated offering. The company says that the pack has been one of the “most popular sticker packs” across WhatsApp. The chat app maker is also adding the ability to search for stickers through text or emoji, or via categories. It urges creators to tag stickers accordingly for easier discoverability.
By Usama Jawad96
Following success in the U.S., Facebook News to launch in the U.K. next month
by Usama Jawad
Facebook began testing a news section dubbed "Facebook News" in the U.S. back in October 2019. As the name implies, this positioned itself as a dedicated tab containing a wide range of news articles, including the most relevant national stories of the day. Apart from using algorithms to highlight original content, it also depends upon a team of non-partisan curators who select stories to display in the "Today's Stories" section, based on public guidelines. Facebook says that the aim of the program is to allow publishers to reach a wider audience coupled with a wide variety of advertisement and subscription offers.
The program has apparently been successful, as the company has now announced that it will launch Facebook News in the U.K. in January 2021, as it hinted a couple of months ago.
In the first wave of rollout, Facebook will be partnering with over a dozen publishers, including The Economist, Archant, and Guardian Media Group. These publishers host numerous brands such as The Mirror, The Independent, GQ, Vogue, Tatler, and more.
Facebook says that the U.K. launch will allow local publishers to reach new audiences. It also enables consumers to discover new and diverse stories along with credible news reports during "major news cycles". With its launch earlier in the U.S., the company noticed that 95% of the traffic is from people who have never interacted with the publishers and their brands in the past.
Furthermore, in an effort to promote local journalism in the U.K., Facebook is extending its Community News Programme (CNP) in the country for one year. The program is responsible for training local journalists from diverse backgrounds. The company says:
The extension in this program also comes with an additional £2.25M ($3M) investment. Lastly, the firm has stated that it is in negotiations to bring Facebook News to Germany and France next, and will be expanding to more countries soon.
By Jefferson Mangubat
Facebook is reportedly in the final stage of acquiring chatbot startup Kustomer [Update]
by Jefferson Mangubat
Facebook could be snapping up another startup as part of its e-commerce push. The Wall Street Journal reported today that the social networking giant is close to acquiring Kustomer, a software startup that provides chatbot support for customer service.
Although the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, the report claims that Kustomer could be valued at a little more than $1 billion if the acquisition materializes, citing sources familiar with the deal. Last year, the startup was valued at $710 million in a private financing round.
Kustomer is nothing new to Facebook's ecosystem. In October, the firm unveiled its integration with Instagram to allow businesses to reply to direct messages, @mentions, and Stories directly from its customer service platform. As part of that partnership, Kustomer also provides a way for companies to see Instagram messaging in a single view, as well as view customer interactions and conversations across multiple platforms. In addition, it has been helping businesses to automatically answer customer queries sent via Facebook Messenger.
Facebook's latest move, if successful, will help boost its push in the social commerce space, an effort that kicked off earlier this year with the launch of Facebook Shops. In August, that effort expanded to the U.S. to provide small businesses a platform to bring their products to Facebook and Instagram's communities. It's interesting to see how Kustomer's platform will figure in that initiative when the acquisition is finalized.
Update: Facebook has confirmed that it has reached an agreement to buy Kustomer. Co-founders Brad Birnbaum and Jeremy Suriel, along with the entire Kustomer team, will be joining Facebook as part of the deal.
Source: The Wall Street Journal (Paywall)
EximiousSoft Logo Designer Pro 3.70
by Razvan Serea
Quickly design logos with the most powerful tools and a large number of templates, shapes, clip arts and other materials. EximiousSoft Logo Designer Pro is bundled with over 540+ supreme quality logo templates and 5000+ vector graphics symbols gives you inspiration for logo design. EximiousSoft Logo Designer Pro can import and export various file formats, include SVG, AI, EPS, PDF, PS, JPG, BMP, PNG and TIFF.
Features at a glance:
Create any shape graphics as you desired with these tools. Move, delete or add even convert anchors for a shape with simple clicks or drag.That's really simple. Shapes or texts can be filled or stroken with solid color, gradient style or images high smoothly.anyone, regardless of creative ability, can blend shapes and text into an impressive logo in a few clicks. Gives you the option to add drop shadows, reflection, glow, 3D bevel with customized settings to shapes or texts on your logo. Any shape objects even texts can be stroken with more pre-designed dash style. Works like a great image editor program that supports strongly layer-editing. With the Layers feature you can control the position of various objects in your logo, you can place a more important object over the other and create different effects. To create, move, resize or rotate shapes or texts only with drag or click. Making a great logo becomes really easy with Logo Designer. The program is intuitive enough to figure out what it does without the need to read user manual. Just start choosing logo templates, do some click or drag for modification. After half an hour you may find yourself with a logo that makes you look like a logo design star! Undo & Redo anywhere anytime. more... Supported image formats:
Export to JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PCX, TGA, TIFF files (for PNG or GIF, the background can be set to transparent). Also supports to print logo from with high resolution. Can import GIF, BMP, PCX, JPG, TIFF, PNG, TGA, PSD, ICO, CUR, ANI ect. files. Logo Designer Pro 3.70 changelog:
Solved the problem of stuttering in the logo editing process
Made the program respond in a timely manner
Fixed some bugs.
Download: EximiousSoft Logo Designer Pro 3.70 | 55.4 MB (Shareware)
Links: EximiousSoft Home Page | Full Features List | Screenshots: 1 | 2
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UK creates a new unit in the CMA to regulate big tech
by Paul Hill
The UK government has announced the creation of the Digital Markets Unit that will oversee “a pro-competition regime” for tech giants such as Facebook and Google. The creation of such a body comes with numerous benefits and ensures that platforms like Google and Facebook don’t become too powerful.
One of the duties of the new unit, which is being set up within the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), is that consumers will be given more choice and control over the use of their data. The regulator will ensure that platforms, including those funded through digital ads, are transparent about the services they provide and how consumer data is being used. It will also ensure consumers have a choice over whether they receive personalised ads and that companies can’t place restrictions on their customers that makes it difficult to use rival platforms.
The regulator could be good for small businesses too as they’ll have fair access to things like digital advertising. Under the new code, firms would be prohibited from applying unfair terms, conditions or policies to certain business customers, including news publishers.
Regarding news publishers, it is no secret that things have got tough as physical newspaper sales have declined. One way in which they gain readers is through services like Google News. The new regulator will be able to govern commercial arrangements between publishers and platforms to ensure things remain fair for both parties. The government believes these powers will “enhance the sustainability of high-quality online journalism and news publishing in the UK.”
Commenting on the new regulator, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:
The government said that the Digital Markets Unit will begin work in April and will have the ability to suspend, block and reverse decisions of tech giants. It will also be able to issue orders to tech firms to take certain actions to achieve code compliance and impose fines on those that do not come into compliance.