Snapchat polishes up its ad product portfolio

To keep up with competitors, Snapchat has just made several updates to its branded lenses and geofilters. Firstly, Snapchat is now selling Sponsored Lenses that can be targeted to specific audiences with a guaranteed number of impressions. Previously, advertisers couldn’t really target Sponsored Lens campaigns, but can now pinpoint their lens to particular audience segments based on age, gender and Snap Lifestyle Categories. Additionally, the World Lenses update lets brands augment people’s surroundings in the outward-facing camera by adding 2-D or 3-D objects of their choice (see video below). Brands can buy World Lenses as an add-on to a standard, selfie-centric Sponsored Lens campaign. A further update allows brands to add locations or other real-time information to their nationwide geofilters, including names of cities and colleges. Currently, Sponsored World Lenses is available everywhere, but targeting of Sponsored Lenses is only available in the US.

Google Maps shows you exactly where to turn with Street View

Google Maps has launched a handy new feature for users who struggle with directions. The update displays Street View imagery when viewing navigation and driving directions, making it even clearer to know when and where to turn. When you look up directions to a location, it will still bring up a text-based list of turn-by-turn steps, but now each step is accompanied by a Street View image.  At the current stage, the images only display as thumbnails until you open them up but can still prove valuable in situations where intersections are particularly unclear or when you’re scanning directions ahead of time. For now, the feature is only available on Android.

The Voice hits the top note

Program Station Audience
The Voice -Sun Ch 9 1,123,724
The Voice -Mon Ch 9 1,116,804
Masterchef Australia – Tues Ch 10 979,480
Masterchef Australia – Wed Ch 10 877,103
Masterchef Australia – Thurs Ch 10 873,998
House Rules – Mon Ch 7 873,756
Masterchef Australia – Mon Ch 10 861,045
House Rules – Sun Ch 7 846,407
Have you been paying attention? Ch 10 842,833
Masterchef Australia – Sun Ch 10 838,600

07.05 – 14.05

Pandora walks you through music’s most iconic album covers

Internet-radio developer, Pandora, invites you on a journey through some of history’s most adored music album covers as part of its “Sounds Like You” campaign. The campaign was launched in conjunction with the release of its new on-demand streaming service Pandora Premium. Pandora’s point of difference from competitors suggests that while finding the music you love, “the music you love can find you“. This is shown in the latest video ad, which features a girl who is led through a maze of staged sets replicating famous album covers. The music is ‘finding her’ before it cuts to her working out at the gym. The ad showcases artists including The Rolling Stones, Metallica, Nirvana and The Weeknd. How many more can you recognise?

The iPhone 7 Plus’ ‘portrait mode’ can save your local barbershop

Apple’s latest ad in the “Practically Magic” series suggests that the iPhone 7 Plus’ portrait mode is good enough to save your business. The clip features a local barbershop, whose struggling business is transformed by photos of their styled clients, which were (of course) taken on the iPhone 7 Plus. Quick cuts jumping from pre and post-haircut styles, rhythmic snapshotting sounds and a catchy soundtrack make for a well-executed, memorable piece. Behind all the retro glamour of the video, the ad shows that portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus is a powerful tool for creating professional photos with little experience.

Facebook launches new research tool to improve chatbot chat

Facebook has revealed a new research tool that will hopefully spur progress towards the creation of truly conversational AI. The new tool, called ParlAI, is described by the company as a “one-stop shop for dialogue research.” It’s goal is to provide researchers with a unified framework for training and testing dialogue models and multi-task training over many data sets at once. Essentially, ParlAI is trying to develop the “capacity for chatbots to enter long-term conversation”. But ParlAI isn’t a tool for everyone.  It’s about finding the best ways to train bots initially, opposed to just building them. The tool is currently in an early-release Beta, but the eventual goal is to have customised virtual assistants that can mediate your interactions with the digital world.

Samsung’s Bixby assistant is taking over the kitchen

Ever wanted to talk to your fridge? Now you can, after Samsung announced they will be preloading their Bixby virtual assistant onto the Family Hub 2.0 refrigerator. With the addition of Bixby, the Family Hub 2.0 will let customers search for recipes, weather information, songs and more, using their voice. Taking it to the next level, thanks to the assistant’s deep learning capabilities, the fridge will also be able to control the temperature in your kitchen, begin learning what recipes you prefer most and recommend music to pass the time while you prepare dinner. The smart fridge already connects with other Samsung appliances, including air conditioners and washing machines, but the addition of the digital assistant will make smart home ecosystems easier to control.

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