It has been a hot one in #TheLab this week with the temperature reaching ridiculous heights in the offices. But with plenty of cold drinks and the odd ice lolly, we have managed to make it through the week. We were very pleased to have launched a new site for one of our clients this week and have continued with the development of several more. It has been a good week for all of us, especially Phoebe who passed her driving test the first time and got the keys to her own flat! In this week’s Lab Weekly we discuss the new Google updates, iOS 10 which has had many mixed reviews and updates in the world of social media.

iOS 10

iOS 10 is here and the large update to iMessage appears to be going down well. The emojis have a slightly different look to them, with the same favourites being there but the regular faces have more of an orange colour to them. The emojis of people have taken a different look too, with more realistic features which has caused some stir amongst lovers of these emojis. There are many fun features with being able to send gifs, draw with your finger, and different effects when you send a message. Next to the space where you type your message, there is an arrow where you can choose to send an image, send a digital touch message, or send files from third party apps such as gifs and music. In digital touch messages the keyboard turns into a dark screen which you can make full screen, here you can write with your finger in different colours, which will animate once you send them, send love hearts, kisses, and firebombs depending on how you touch the screen. Whilst in messages, if your turn your phone landscape you also have a full white screen which you can handwrite messages on, they will save along with pre written messages at the bottom of the screen which can be sent or deleted. Before you send a message, holding down on the send button will allow you to add effects such as ‘slam’ and ‘loud’ which will make your message bubble appear bigger and to shake once it’s sent, you can also add effects to the whole screen such as fireworks, confetti, and lasers. Once you have typed a message and then go into your emoji keyboard, certain words will be highlighted which once clicked on can be turned into corresponding emojis.

There are also changes to notifications, when they appear both in the lock screen and at the top of your phone, they are now in a white box. In the lock screen however, once you receive a message you can not only respond as before, but are able to see the whole conversation right there in the lock screen. Built in apps such as stocks can now be deleted, a feature which has been long awaited. There are also changes to the Maps app with features such as the app being able to remember where you parked your car so that you never have to worry about wandering aimlessly around the car park. Photos has had a makeover with albums showing as icons rather than in a list, memories is a new feature which groups together photos from a certain date or place and even a new album named ‘people’ which lets you pick one person and shows you all the pictures of them.

Google Images in Search Results

According to tracking tools from Moz and RankRanger Google normally shows an image box for around 20% to 35% of the queries that they return, however this week that seems to have dropped significantly by half. Normally the box looks like the image on the right but now these boxes don’t show up as often according to the tools. Google have been queried on this and we hope to have some answers soon to whether it is a bug or another new feature from the search engine.

Social

Twitter

If you have a business Twitter profile you can now display the hours that your company is available to respond to people’s tweets, for example, “24/7” or “9am-11pm”. There is also a button that people can click to send it a direct message, these are very similar features that Facebook released last year for pages. The feature on Facebook Pages allows you to define how quick your business is going to respond, unfortunately Twitter doesn’t have this feature.

Another big feature added to Twitter is now when people search for Twitter accounts, mention a brand’s account in a tweet or look through their list of direct message thread you will see “Provides Support” details attached to a brand’s account name. However, to enable this customer-support flag to their account names brand’s will need to opt in through the Dashboard tool, this is is also what you need to do to set the hours of availability. All of these features are available now.

Facebook

Facebook Messenger has added a button to allow users to buy from companies directly from the app. This new feature allows companies to link users from their Facebook ads, to a bot in Facebook Messenger. This is not a completely new concept for Facebook but previously to enter payment details, you were taken out of the app and to a web page. Now your payment and shipping details can be attached to Messenger profiles through companies such as PayPal and Stripe. Brands will also be able to customise how they appear in Messenger, being able to load a web page or ‘webview’ which can either take up the whole of the device’s screen or only a small amount. This means that brands can remember products that the user has viewed and can suggest relevant other items. The new update also involves some more smaller updates such as being able to send products to your friends via Messenger where they will see the same thing you do and also have the ability to buy.