Emoji, Facebook, and Google Down Under

This week, we’re talking 😠, 😀 📖, and 💻 🔍 🇦🇺.

Australians love to Google:

For once, this is not a euphemism.

A report from Roy Morgan has found that Australians spent a whopping 552 million hours on Google in 2015.

We have the breakdown of month-to-month users below — surprisingly, Yahoo and Bing see a significant amount of use, even compared to the search-engine king.

The study goes further into usage statistics, showing that while visits are almost equal on both of the smaller engines, users spend almost 4 times as much time on Bing — and then they go to Google anyway.

Facebook Update:

Facebook has been making some big changes, so this week we are dedicating our Channel Update to the big blue.

AI screen scans?

Having said that — remember how we talked about Twitter‘s alt text function? Well it seems Facebook has done one better.

Last week, Zuckerberg announced a new “screen reader”, powered by Facebook’s AI technology.

The tech will essentially scan images on the site, and read them aloud to the benefit of those who are visually impaired.

“This is a great use of AI technology, and it’s an important step towards making sure everyone has equal access to information and is included in the conversation.”

Branded Content update

via ADWEEK

Blue tick pages can now use a special tool to highlight sponsored content.

Facebook announced changes to their branded content policy last week. According to the policy, all branded content must be called out.

This certainly makes marketting more transparent over the site, but it could just be opening the door to more paid media options.

Messenger

Messenger had a boost this week, with the rollout of a brand-new Snapchatesque ‘Messenger Code’ system. This will allow users to connect by scanning each other’s friend code within the app.

But in reality, this function is set to make it easier to connect to businesses directly.

This is looking into the future that Facebook desires, where businesses will interact with their customers entirely through the platform.

You can check out the official announcement here.

ChatBots

And as if that weren’t enough, Facebook is reportedly providing developers with API tools to build chatbots for businesses who don’t have the knowhow (read: mostly everybody).

This is still in speculation stages, but is believable when we remember the recent launch of automated responses.

(Without breaking the flow of our Facebook special, Kik have recently done something very similar.)

Less personal

All of these happy changes for marketers are having dire consequences for everyday users.

You’d be forgiven for feeling like you’re seeing less lifestyle and more branded content on Facebook — because as it turns out, that’s exactly what’s happening.

As the golden age of Snapchat approaches, users are feeling less inclined to share their vacay and family snaps on Facebook. Gizmodo puts this number at a massive 21% decline in personal content.

But it’s not really a death-knell for Facebook, as users are still as active as ever on Facebook-owned Instagram — although as we know, times they are a changin’.

DOUBLE BONUS ROUND:

If your friends aren’t on the Apple bandwagon, beware. That cute emoji you’re using as punctuation could mean something completely different.

via grouplens

To us, it seems they’ve got 😁 confused with 😬. And even then, there are a million different interpretations for the same emoji on the same platform.

What a 🍞🔥🐨👻.

But it’s okay! Perhaps this quirky, only-useful-if-you-have-an-Apple-watch app can help you out.

EmoWatch can take a 2–3 second snippet of your voice, and by analysing the tone, pitch, speed, and other factors, can determine your mood.

SocialSelect is a weekly aggregation of the things that matter from the scariest parts of the internet, brought to you by Marcel Sydney.

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