Highlights of the Month – September
5 min read
5 min read
by Milica Stankić
Google is set to challenge OpenAI with Gemini, a multimodal AI system developed by Google DeepMind. Gemini was introduced at the 2023 Google I/O conference. It combines DeepMind’s AlphaGo capabilities with advanced language modeling, promising natural conversational abilities. Gemini will utilize Google’s new AI infrastructure, Pathways, potentially surpassing GPT-3 in scale. It’s designed for versatility, with various sizes and capabilities, including reinforcement learning and memory. Early results are promising, and Google has granted select companies early access. Meta is also working on a competing AI model. Gemini aims to become a universal personal assistant, transforming how we interact with AI daily. This development signifies a remarkable step forward in AI accessibility.
Instagram has added a new “Following” feed to its Reels tab, allowing users to exclusively view Reels from accounts they follow. Previously, the Reels feed combined posts from followed accounts and recommended content. This update aligns Instagram’s Reels more closely with TikTok’s “For You” and “Following” streams, giving users the option to focus solely on content from their chosen accounts. While this feature offers more control over content, it may be less valuable on Instagram, where users typically follow a diverse range of accounts. TikTok users often follow different profiles, potentially making their “Following” feed more engaging. To access the “Following” feed, users can tap the “Reels” title in the upper left corner and select “Following” from the dropdown menu. They can easily switch back to the main Reels feed by tapping the back arrow at the top left of the screen.
Meta is discontinuing Facebook News in the U.K., France, and Germany from December 2023. Originally launched in 2019 to provide trusted news content, Facebook News saw declining user interest in news discussions, prompting Meta’s shift towards short-form video and friend updates. Meta stated, “News makes up less than 3% of what people see in their Facebook feed worldwide.” This move will allow Meta to exit news publisher agreements and potentially resist regional regulations forcing payments to local publishers. With short-form video, like Reels, gaining prominence, and AI-driven content recommendations, Meta aims to reduce reliance on news engagement. The impact of this shift on news consumption and Meta’s influence remains to be seen.
Elon Musk hinted at the possibility of X, formerly Twitter, introducing a monthly subscription fee to combat bots on the platform. While he didn’t specify the cost, Musk referred to it as a “small amount of money” during a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. X currently boasts 550 million monthly users generating 100 to 200 million daily posts, though it’s unclear if this count includes automated accounts. The timing and details of the subscription plan remain undisclosed. Musk has been promoting X Premium (formerly Twitter Blue), a $8 per month service with enhanced features, but it hasn’t gained widespread adoption, with only around 827,615 subscribers. Musk had previously considered putting all of X behind a paywall.
YouTube is experimenting with a new mobile app feature that offers a full-screen viewing experience for vertical live streams. This vertical live format allows creators to stream vertically, and their content will be visible to eligible viewers browsing Shorts on the YouTube app. Unlike the current letterbox format for live streams, this new format fills the entire screen, with comments overlaid on top. The move aligns with YouTube’s strategy to capitalize on the popularity of Shorts, one of its fastest-growing content formats, which has garnered over 50 billion daily views in the app. YouTube previously attempted full-screen live broadcasts in 2016, but this feature was later deprecated. The new vertical live-stream format is currently in limited testing, with broader availability expected soon.
Google has introduced “Creative Guidance,” an AI tool within the Google Ads platform to optimize video ad performance. This tool assesses videos and offers feedback to enhance performance, aligning with Google’s best practices. Creative Guidance provides dynamic best practice assessments and alerts users when they miss key, data-backed creative best practices. It offers specific recommendations, such as ensuring the presence of a brand logo at the video’s start, adhering to recommended duration, evaluating the effectiveness of voice-overs, and confirming the correct aspect ratio. This won’t create entirely new ads, it serves as a valuable double-checking process to maximize ad opportunities. Google plans to expand the system, recommending a broader range of elements for improved ad performance over time. While AI remains a supplementary tool for creative work, it can aid in ensuring key requirements are met, though truly unique and standout content still requires a human touch.
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