Here’s your last week in digital media and all the news you may have missed:
- Apple’s VR hardware and AR glasses may arrive in 2022/23 according to numerous reports. Putting Apple, Facebook, and Snap in a race to be the first to bring true AR glasses to the public.
- how fast is your client’s website? Google is exploring “speed badging” websites i.e. labeling sites that load slowly. Initially, the labeling will only occur in the Chrome browser. Back in 2014, Google moved to prioritize mobile-friendly sites in search results, so this may be a sign that Google soon double-down on speed as a search ranking criteria.
- Snapchat Spectacles 3.0 are now available starting at US$380 (a price jump from V2 that retailed from US$150). The updated spectacles take 3D photos and capture with enhanced photo/video quality but early reviews suggest there is little real reason to upgrade and if Spectacles 3.0 are worth the price.
- Facebook is getting into payments with Facebook Pay across Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Facebook, claims Facebook Pay is independent of their Libra plans but there’s no denying that encouraging payments and commerce on and across the Facebook ecosystems would benefit Libra longer term.
- Instagram has launched an app to compete with TikTok called Reels. The app is available in Brazil only for now but you can see what Reels looks like in this video. Reels lets you make short videos, set then to music and share them as stories.
- staying with Instagram, they are now expanding the hiding of like counts to a subset of all users globally. As a reminder (and as this article points out) if you’re marketing focused on likes you’re focusing on the wrong metrics.
- Brave, makers of a privacy-focused browser that also compensates users who opt-in for advertising, is out of beta and officially launched. What makes Brave different from other browsers is it also runs its own private ad network. If you’re interested in testing out the browser, you can download Brave Here.
- TikTok is beta-testing social commerce, letting some users add links to their profile. Links can be to any site, not necessarily eCommerce. You can check out a video of the experience here.
- last week, I referenced how Google already thought it was a healthcare company. well, it has come light (via WSJ) that Google is running ‘Project Nightingale’ that is collecting health data from Ascension, a large health care provider. Regulators have already started an investigation (WSJ paywall), starting with the US Office of Health & Human Services. Google has responded with this post, stating it’s purely a cloud-computing deal and doesn’t mingle with other consumer data – but this is unlikely to placate regulators.
- it’s been reported that Google is planning to offer consumer checking accounts under the code-name Google Cache. The product would be launched in partnership with banks and while Google claims “it wouldn’t sell checking-account users’ financial data” there are clear benefits to Google from having bank-level transaction insights.
- Walmart plans to launch self-service advertising tools as well as an API as it’ accelerates its move into digital advertising. It’s reported that Walmart is already testing the service with a limited number of CPGs.
- Disney+ launched, claiming 10MM+ subscribers. The launched faced some technical issues this didn’t stop the Disney+ app reaching #1 on the US App Store.
- Netflix has come out and explained why they are leaving older devices, claiming it’s because Netflix is moving away from supporting older Digital Rights Manager (DRM) standards.
- YouTube is updating their Terms of Service (ToS) on Dec 10th. Some of the revisions look like a response to their FTC-YouTube Kids agreement, but there are some terms that look designed to give YouTube clear ways to manage for brand safety including “YouTube is under no obligation to host or serve Content.” and a possible way to link account termination to advertising “YouTube may terminate your access … if YouTube believes … that provision of the Service to you is no longer commercially viable.”
- according to a number of reports, the Google Antitrust probe scope will now include Search and Android (extending the scope beyond just online advertising).
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- twitter has shared a draft of a new policy for how it will manage fake content or what it calls “synthetic and manipulated media”. If you want to provide feedback, there’s a ~5min survey you can complete (I strongly recommend you do this) but you must do so before close on Wed, Nov. 27 at 11:59 p.m GMT.
- also in twitter policy news, details have emerged about twitter’s new political ad policy that will come into effect November 22. It includes a ban on ads by politicians and political parties. “Cause based” ads (which is somewhat similar to Facebook’s issue ads) will be restricted in terms of targeted advertising and requires a certification process to run.
- Facebook published its quarterly transparency report (and included some Instagram data for the first time). The report breaks down details by category of content, outside of safety (where Facebook removed 54MM pieces of content) probably the biggest on of concern to advertisers is Fake Accounts (as the can cause inauthentic ad views). Last quarter Facebook disabled 1.7B (yes billion) fake accounts with 99.7% found and flagged by automated systems before users reported them. If you don’t have time to read the full report, there’s a summary press release here.
- There were reports during the week that Facebook was activating the phone camera to track people browsing their feeds. It appears this Facebook camera issue was a bug and Facebook claims nothing was filmed, stored, or used. If you’re still concerned, best to disable camera permissions for the Facebook app.
- There’s a good study out of Yale University on the “Economics of Social Data” (PDF link) which is full of interesting analysis, including that the social dimension of data reduces the costs of data acquisition; and that the economic surplus generated by major platforms is a result of their efficiency in data collection.
Have a great week.
PS. This doesn’t neatly fit into the typical categories, but there’s a great read on MIT Technology Review about “Shadow Wars” and what is effectively information warfare. Personally, I think a lot of this is a heads up to brands as well – as there is evidence that attacking corporations and brand disinformation is part of the shadow war strategy.