Tinder begins testing its first video feature, Tinder Loops

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Tinder is getting into video. On Wednesday, the popular dating app will begin testing its first video-based feature, Tinder Loops, with iOS users in Canada and Sweden. The company says it will evaluate how users respond to Loops before making a decision to roll it out to other markets.

As you may have guessed by the name – “Loops” – the feature isn’t focused on traditional video, but rather on a shorter, almost GIF-like looping video format that’s been popularized by apps like Instagram’s Boomerang and, before that, Twitter’s Vine. In Tinder’s case, Loops will be just two seconds long, and can be added to users’ profiles alongside their photos.

The company says it decided to test videos because it believes videos can show more of users’ personalities, and that can increase people’s chances of getting right-swiped (liked, that is). It suggests the videos could be used for showing off your favorite activities – like shooting hoops or cliff jumping. But it’s likely that Tinder users will find other use cases for looping videos beyond that.

Loops represents the next step in the evolution of our classic profile,” said Brian Norgard, Chief Product Officer at Tinder. “With the addition of video, users have a new way to express themselves while also gaining key insights into the lives of potential matches. Whether it’s dancing at a concert, doing cartwheels on the beach, or clinking glasses with friends, Loops makes profiles come alive. We anticipate Tinder Loops will lead to even more matches and conversations and look forward to seeing how our users creatively adopt the feature,” he added.

More realistically, looping videos may better show people as they are – not hidden behind a soft photo filter or snapped from a classic MySpace angle. And that could lead to less surprise on first dates, as people will have already gotten a better sense of who they’re meeting, as well as how they like to have fun.

But at only two-seconds long, Loops are not as intimidating as posting a “real” video for users who are more shy.

To try the new feature, iOS users in the supported markets will be able to go to their profile, then tap the “Add Media” button to upload a video. Once the video is selected, you can drag the time strip to select the part you want to loop, preview it, and post it to your profile.

Tinder Loops currently supports only videos or Live Photos imported from your iOS Camera Roll. It doesn’t allow users to capture Loops directly from the app.

Alongside the option to add Loops, a subset of users in the test markets will also be given the ability to upload nine photos (or Loops), instead of just six. That could encourage more uploads of Loops as users won’t have to remove their existing photos to give the feature a try.

Tinder would not be the first dating app to dabble with video.

Starting last year, a number of its rivals began to support video in various contexts, as well. Hinge started allowing users to add videos up to 30 seconds long to their profiles; Match and Bumble announced Stories-like features involving video (BumbleVID didn’t pan out); and Zoosk tried video in a separate app, Lively, which has since pivoted to trivia. Integrating video, it appears, is not that easy.

The feature’s launch comes at a time when the competition between modern dating apps has been heating up. Specifically, Tinder and Bumble’s battles have gotten nasty, with Tinder parent Match Group suing Bumble over patents, and Bumble suing Match Group back for fraudulently obtaining trade secrets. Tinder also recently said it would roll out a ladies-first option in its app, which is the thing Bumble is best known for.

Now, with Loops, Tinder is differentiating itself further from the rest of the pack. Whether or not users will respond, however, remains to be seen.

Loops is rolling out today to the supported test markets.

 

Mobile – TechCrunch

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Spotify begins public trading under symbol SPOT

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Spotify is now a publicly traded company. The world’s largest streaming music provider began public trading today on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SPOT. The stock opened at $ 165.90 per share and has been trending down since then; according to Market Watch, as of this writing, it’s hovering around $ 153.

The company filed papers with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to go public in late February.

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Spotify Valued at $29.5 Billion as Stock Begins Trading at $165.90 Per Share

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Spotify, Apple Music’s main competitor, this morning opened on the New York Stock Exchange at $165.90 per share, valuing the company at $29.5 billion.

When Spotify filed to go public in February, CNBC estimated the company’s valuation at ~$23 billion based on private trades that had reached as high as $132.50. Spotify used the $132 per share figure as its reference price, which would have given the company a $23.5 billion valuation.


As noted by TechCrunch, Spotify is not selling its shares on the stock market and is not raising money today. Its direct listing is instead a collection of transactions from existing shareholders selling shares to stock market investors.

Spotify employees are allowed to sell their shares right away, unlike with a traditional IPO, which could lead to volatility in the coming weeks.

As of December 31, 2017, Spotify had 159 million active monthly users and 71 million premium subscribers, which Spotify says is “double the scale” of Apple Music. Apple as of February boasted 36 million paying subscribers.

In an appearance on CBS This Morning, Spotify cofounder and CEO Daniel Ek today discussed the company’s public offering and a recent report from The Wall Street Journal suggesting Apple Music is on track to overtake Spotify in U.S. subscribers.

In response, Ek said that because Spotify is twice the size as Apple Music, the company “still has some room.” Ek said that he’s “very happy” with the growth that Spotify is seeing. The music industry, he says, is too big for Spotify alone.

“What we’ve found is that when we’ve got competition, it actually grows the market because more people are now talking about streaming. It’s easy to forget that just three years ago, even in the U.S., streaming wasn’t a thing,” he said.

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Reddit begins rolling out first redesign in a decade

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Reddit has redesigned its website and the changes begin rolling out today, marking the first time in a decade that the social media network has altered its interface. One percent of users will see the new design today, and over the course of the next few months, the design will come to all Reddit users and lurkers, as Wired reports. As of now, those who see the change can still switch back to the old Reddit.

The new Reddit design replaces the navigation bar with a menu on the left corner, which resembles a lot of trendy website templates available on Squarespace, Wix, or Tumblr. The menu opens up to display links to feeds, subreddits you follow, and user profiles. Users will be able to choose to view Reddit in three modes: “classic view”…

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Instagram for Apple Watch killed as Apple begins requiring native apps in updates

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Despite dramatic improvements to Apple Watch speed, some high profile apps have been actively pulled from watchOS over the last several months. Instagram is the latest major app to disappear from Apple Watch as part of today’s iPhone app update…

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Google begins to roll out mobile-first indexing

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Google announced this morning its “mobile -first” indexing of the web is now starting to roll out, after a year and a half of testing and experimentation. Back in 2016, Google first detailed its plan to change the way its search index operates, explaining how its algorithms would eventually be shifted to use the mobile version of a website’s content to index its pages, as well as to understand its structured data and to show snippets from the site in the Google search results.

In December 2017, Google said it had begun to transition a small handful of sites to mobile-first indexing, but declined to say which properties had been made the move.

Mobile-first indexing means Google will use the mobile version of a web page “for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for,” the company writes in a blog post.

By “primarily mobile,” Google is referring to the fact that the majority of people who use Google search today now do so from mobile devices, and have done so since 2015.

Google also explains that it will have one index for search results, not a mobile-first index that’s separate from its main index. In other words, it will start to look to the mobile web pages to index the web, not the desktop version.

Mobile-friendliness has long been one of the many factors in determining how a site is ranked, but it’s not the only factor. For example, there are times when a non-mobile friendly page still has the best information and will appear higher, Google says.

However, Google has begun to prioritize mobile sites in several ways. For example, it began to boost the rank of mobile-friendly webpages on mobile search results back in 2015, and more recently said it was adding a signal that uses page speed to help determine a page’s mobile search ranking. Starting in July 2018, slow-loading content will be downranked.

While Google today claims the mobile-friendly indexing won’t directly impact how content is ranked, it does note that having a site’s mobile-friendly content indexed in this new fashion will likely help the site “perform better” in mobile search results.

Google isn’t shifting all sites over to the new mobile-first indexing today – just the first wave.

Specifically, Google selected those sites that are already following the best practices for mobile-first indexing, it says. And it will favor the mobile version of the webpage over its own fast-loading AMP pages.

Those sites who have been shifted will be notified via Search Console, says Google, and will begin see increased visits from the Smartphone Googlebot. After the shift, Google will show the mobile version of the site’s pages in its Search results and in the Google cached pages.

Google tells the webmasters of sites that are not yet mobile-optimized to not panic yet. “If you only have desktop content, you will continue to be represented in our index,” assures the Google announcement.

The company did not specify when the rollout of the mobile-first indexing would complete.

Mobile – TechCrunch

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Ford vending machine begins dispensing cars in China

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It is no longer enough simply to test-drive a vehicle by riding around the block while a salesperson gives you their well-rehearsed patter. Now, there needs to be some sort of theater around the purchase, or else how will you trick yourself into thin…
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Apple begins notifying WWDC 2018 lottery winners ahead of June conference

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After announcing WWDC 2018 earlier this month, Apple has officially started confirming lottery winners for WWDC 2018.

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[Update: Galaxy S8+ too] AT&T begins rolling out Oreo for the Galaxy S8

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The Galaxy S9 is shipping, so it’s about time that Samsung’s 2017 flagship phones got Oreo, don’t you think? So far, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon have all started pushing updates. Today is AT&T’s turn.

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AT&T begins rolling out Oreo for the Galaxy S8

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

The Galaxy S9 is shipping, so it’s about time that Samsung’s 2017 flagship phones got Oreo, don’t you think? So far, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon have all started pushing updates. Today is AT&T’s turn. The OTA is hitting devices as we speak, so that’s the last of the big four.

The update includes a bump to Android 8.0, which is still a little behind the Android 8.1 running on the Pixels and some other phones.

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AT&T begins rolling out Oreo for the Galaxy S8 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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