Facebook ready to launch its own smart speaker
Facebook is on the brink of launching its own smart device – rumoured to be called ‘Portal’.
The device is likely to feature a screen as well as a speaker, to allow for calls and video playback, as well as the traditional features of a smart assistant, such as music and news updates.
Rather than being a competitor to Amazon’s Alexa, the Facebook smart device may integrate it to allow for expanded skills beyond talking to Facebook.
The major question will be whether the public wants Facebook more integrated in their homes, following the various data scandals that have surrounded the social network this year.
Alexa takes to the road
Meanwhile, Amazon is adding to its Alexa capability, first with an in-car option that is due to launch in the US.
With more car manufacturers adding wifi options and those like Mercedes also introducing their own personal assistants for drivers, Amazon is stepping up a gear.
In addition, Amazon has struck a deal with Getty Images for image search that displays on Alexa devices that have a screen.
This will allow Alexa to deliver visual answers to questions, in addition to spoken answers, opening up the device for further and more frequent use.
More reach on Insta? It’s so #easy
Instagram is testing a new option to allow users to add hashtags outside of their main text, in a separate field while composing the post.
This takes some of the guesswork out of using correct hashtags on Insta posts, and ensures that a large number can be posted (the limit is 30) without being intrusive.
In turn, this will expand the reach of Instagram posts, by allowing more people of a like mind to see relevant content that is being posted.
Shop the look now available to all brands on Pinterest
Pinterest’s ‘shop the look’ pins are now to be made available to all businesses.
This allows users to click around a photo, going direct to purchase on the various items highlighted.
And the visual social network is now letting all sizes of businesses, down to the smallest start-ups, elect to purchase this type of post.
Recent Pinterest user data revealed that nine in 10 weekly active Pinners use the social platform to make purchase decisions, and four in five say content from brands is helpful to them.
One in three people now discovering products on Facebook
Facebook has conducted new research into how shopping habits are changing, with more than one in three people now discovering products they want to buy first on Facebook.
More than half of people (55 per cent) look at products first online these days, rather than in-store, with 43 per cent checking online reviews first.
Of the Facebook family of social apps, Instagram was the favoured first port of call, with 62 per cent of those surveyed starting a purchase journey there, compared to 61 per cent on Facebook itself.