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Meta’s NPE Team Continues to Shift Focus With the Shutdown of Another Experimental App

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Meta continues to reformat its New Product Experimentation (NPE) team, which, up till now, has been working on various experimental apps, with the shut down of another NPE project.

Dating app ‘Sparked’, which enables users to hold 4-minute video chats with potential matches in order to better decide on their suitability before moving forward, is the latest NPE app to be cut from the rotation, as Meta seeks new avenues for development of its tools.

Evidently, Sparked never truly caught on, and Meta is now cutting its losses, and removing support for the project, with any learnings, you would assume, to be integrated into its broader Facebook Dating project.

Sparked users have been informed that the app will shut down for good on January 20th, with users able to download their information from the app till then.

As noted, Meta has been working to re-align the focus of its NPE team, which has released a swathe of apps over the past two years as it sought to tap into the latest user trends, and get ahead of the next big thing.

Seemingly, none of those experiments worked, with the full list of the NPE team’s apps reflecting the ebbs and flows of online fads throughout the period.

Super, a Cameo-like platform for connecting with celebrities, which appears to be no longer available
Hotline, a social audio app in the vein of Clubhouse which launched in beta last April, but has since been removed
Forecast, which aimed to facilitate crowd-sourced predictions, was launched in June 2020, then shut down in October last year
Venue, a live sports engagement app was launched in May 2020, and shut down sometime last year
CatchUp, to facilitate phone calls between friends who are up for a chat, launched in May 2020 and is now gone from the App Store
Collab, for music collaborations via short video clips launched in May 2020 and will shut down this March.
Kit, which provided expanded messaging options via Apple Watch, is now gone from the app store
Hobbi, which provided a way to collect images of creative hobbies, and sort them into boards lasted just six months
Whale, a meme creation tool, quietly launched in November 2019, lasted till just recently, based on reported updates.
AUX, a participatory DJ app also didn’t make it
Bump, a chat app, also failed to hold its place

In fact, of the thirteen experimental apps launched by the NPE team since November 2019, only two still remain active – rap creation app ‘Bars’ is still in the App Store, along with ‘Tuned’, a messaging app for couples. The track record here likely suggests they also won’t be long for this world.

Meta announced last month that the NPE team would be shifting its focus to building with and for communities that have “historically been overlooked, underestimated, and undervalued by our industry”. The idea here is that while the latest broad-scale trends can drive greater app adoption, there are many areas where new use cases and functionalities are evolving, which may not have as broad appeal, but could lead to significant new shifts.

As per NPE:

“We’re expanding from our current US footprint to build with and for communities across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and scaling what works there across the globe. Right now, the increase of global connectivity and falling cost of experimentation have created new opportunities. During this next era, anyone with a design mindset, wherever they are, can quickly see that rapid experimentation overrides received wisdom, and adapt. We need to be more intentional about building with proximity to how the world looks today, and how it’s going to look tomorrow. In time, this is how we’ll learn to identify universal experiences.”

Evidently, part of this will see the group clearing the slate, in order to re-focus on these new projects. How exactly that will look, and whether these new experiments will be any more successful, or valuable in the long term, remains to be seen, but it’s interesting to see Meta shutting down these past experiments, which, at one time, had seemingly held significant enough promise for exploration.

Does that flag an end to Meta’s trend-chasing, and working to fend off potential competition in the space? Maybe Meta’s now moving away from copycatting, and instead turning to the future, with projects more focused on the next stage of connection – i.e. the metaverse.

The new focus, which also includes new offices for the team in Lagos and Asia, could be a big shift, and it’ll be interesting to see how these new collaborations and partnerships evolve over time.

But if you’re keen to test out your rap skills, I’d download ‘Bars’ pretty soon.

Original Article: socialmediatoday.com

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Free Annual Whitepaper on the 2021 Global Edtech Investment Available…

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There was a Staggering Spike in Investments Across the Globe in 2021 According to a New Whitepaper by Metariverse (formerly Metaari)

(PRWeb January 14, 2022)

Read the full story at https://www.prweb.com/releases/free_annual_whitepaper_on_the_2021_global_edtech_investment_available_now/prweb18434853.htm

Source Here: prweb.com

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YouTube Moves Away From Original Programming to Focus on Creator Funding Initiatives

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YouTube has announced that it will shut down its YouTube Originals program, which at one stage was a key value add for its YouTube Premium service, and a focus in its broader effort to challenge rising video-on-demand rivals like Netflix and Disney+.

As announced by YouTube’s Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl, YouTube has made the decision to wind down its original programming due to the departure of long-time Originals lead Susanne Daniels, who’s moving on after a raft of changes to her role. Daniels, an industry veteran who has previously worked for The WB, Lifetime and MTV, was initially brought in to lead YouTube’s Originals program in 2015, where she was tasked with developing original series’ for the app.

Daniels’ initial work saw the creation of series like ‘Cobra Kai’ and program partnerships with big-name stars like Ellen DeGeneres, Kevin Hart, Demi Lovato and Katy Perry. Those programs were initially made available to ‘YouTube Red’ subscribers only, who paid $9.99 to access this higher tier of YouTube content.

YouTube Red gained some early traction, but was split into YouTube Premium and YouTube Music in 2018 to provide more subscription options for users. Later in 2018, YouTube also made the strategic decision to make its Premium content available for free, instead of gated for paying subscribers, moving more into line with YouTube’s general ad-supported model for viewing, and tapping into the platform’s main strength in audience and reach.

But over time, YouTube has gradually moved away from original programming.

As explained by Variety, Daniels and her team shifted their focus to unscripted content in three different areas: music, celebrity and creator-focused originals, as well as educational programming. That eventually saw YouTube merging back into its regular content approach, and with over 2 million creators now taking part in the YouTube partner program, forming a much more significant revenue and retention model for the platform, the need for a dedicated originals division has been diminished to the point where YouTube feels that focusing elsewhere will be more beneficial.

As explained by Kyncl:

“Going forward, we will only be funding programs that are part of Black Voices and YouTube Kids funds. We will honor our commitment for already contracted shows in progress and creators who are involved in those shows should expect to hear from us in the coming days.”

Given its regular push to add more users to YouTube Premium, and the regular resistance from most, it makes sense for YouTube to instead focus on other areas, while building its offering for creators is also key in maximizing its audience reach and resonance by tapping into the latest trends and shifts.

Essentially, YouTube doesn’t need to create its own original content, and it’s fairly clear now that it couldn’t compete on this front anyway, given the amount of original properties and programs that Disney, Netflix and Amazon now control.

By re-focusing on creators, YouTube can maximize its appeal, in variance to its real rivals, in Meta and TikTok. And while YouTube would love to dominate all forms of digital media consumption, scripted dramas are clearly not what YouTube users are looking for from the app, at least not in the way that this has become an accepted behavior for other VOD providers.

Given the gradual wind down of its originals, the impact on YouTube will likely be minimal, though you can expect to see some ramp up in focus on creators as a result of the re-allocation of its resources.

Does that mean YouTube will stop pushing YouTube Premium? No, it does not.

Just recently, YouTube launched a new annual payment option for YouTube Premium with the lure of eradicating annoying ads from your YouTube experience. Which is really the only lure for Premium now – no exclusive content, but the ability to get rid of ads.

Which has always seemed like a slightly conflicted offering – “we know our ads are so annoying that some people will pay to shut them off”.

Still, platforms have to make money somehow.

Original Post: socialmediatoday.com

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Twitter Finally Brings Communities to Its Android App

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Almost five months after the initial launch of its Communities option, which enables users to share tweets with topic-aligned groups of users in the app, Twitter has today announced that Android users can also now engage in Communities, expanding access to these more dedicated discussion spaces.

Communities is essentially Twitter’s answer to Facebook groups or Reddit subreddits, moving away from the traditional ‘public square’ approach of tweeting and providing another way to form community around specific subjects in the app.

Though how successful Communities have been thus far is questionable. Most Communities, based on anecdotal evidence, are not highly active, with a part of the problem being that they’re largely obsolete, and restrictive, which goes against the established incentive devices of the app.

On the first point, given that most regular Twitter users have already curated a list of people they want to hear from in their feeds, Communities doesn’t really serve any significant purpose in keeping up to date with your key topics of interest.

It could, of course, enable you to find new tweet discussions to join, which could expand your tweeting activity, but with Communities currently being either ‘invite-only’ or ‘open to all’, that means that you either need to know somebody already in an interest area to gain access (and community discovery is not overly intuitive), while ‘open to all’ groups are generally filled with spam – which even the invited groups are as well, to a degree, due to flaws in the joining process (each new member can invite five of their own connections).

Twitter is working to address this, with a new ‘request to join’ option, where community admins will be able to approve or deny requests. That could help to improve the situation, but right now, the existing process is problematic in some respects.

On the second note, prolific tweeters already have far more followers on their personal handles than they can reach within a Community, so tweeting exclusively to Communities, only to see less engagement on their comments, isn’t an overly appealing prospect.

Sure, you could share your opinion direct to a community, and get no likes or replies, but why do that when you could share the same with your own, established audience who are more likely to respond. And because Twitter has already engrained Likes and replies as social currency on the platform, the incentive to tweet drives more users to the biggest response surface, which reduces the motivation to share to Communities.

As noted, Twitter is working on some of these elements, including discoverability, which could improve the Communities experience.

Maybe. No doubt some Twitter Communities are already highly active, but right now, as it stands, it doesn’t look like Communities is set to become a major element of tweet engagement, unless Twitter can refine the offering, and re-ignite interest.

Maybe Android access will change this – and ultimately, Twitter has the engagement data, it knows how active people are in Communities, and whether it’s worth pursuing further in future.

Will it go the way of Fleets, or can Communities become a bigger part of the tweet experience?

We’ll know more later in the year, now that all users can access the option.

Original Source: socialmediatoday.com

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