Digital Deep Dive: WhatsApp Business, Facebook Stories Expansion & More

The online landscape is ever-changing. New devices, platforms and features are introduced on what feels like a daily basis. We’ve put together a roundup of five of this week’s biggest stories to help you stay ahead of the curve!

Facebook adds desktop posting to Stories

Despite experiencing low usage rates compared to its other Snapchat clones on Instagram and WhatsApp, Facebook is expanding its native Stories feature by testing the ability to post directly from desktop devices.

A Facebook spokesperson commented: “We are always working to ensure people can easily navigate and enjoy Facebook, regardless of how they connect. We are testing the option to create and share Stories from Facebook on desktop and are also testing moving the Stories tray from the top right corner to above News Feed, just like on mobile.”

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A Giphy GIF search engine is coming to Instagram Stories

A small selection of Instagram users have noticed a GIF library appearing in Stories this week, indicating a possible partnership between the app and Giphy. The new feature allows users to search for GIFs from the Giphy database and overlay them onto their Instagram Stories.

There has been no official announcement from Instagram regarding the partnership and new feature, but an official launch can probably be expected soon!

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Facebook Messenger promises to simplify in 2018

Facebook’s head of Messenger, David Marcus, has announced plans to simplify and streamline Messenger in 2018. “Over the last two years, we built a lot of capabilities to find the features that continue to set us apart. A lot of them have found their product market fit; some haven’t,” Marcus admits.

His aim is “to make Messenger the easiest and most delightful way for people to spend time together in happy and harder times.” Read his full list of priorities, including investment in visual messaging and group chats, here.

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Instagram is testing a new text-only option in Stories

Instagram is testing a new feature — called “Type” — which will allow users to share text-based Stories as an alternative to photos or video. The feature appears as a separate option at the bottom of the screen in Stories, alongside Boomerang, Live and other familiar features. Once Type is selected, users can write their message and choose different options for the background and font.

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WhatsApp officially launches its app for businesses

WhatsApp has officially launched its new WhatsApp Business app in select markets — including Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S. — with plans for a worldwide rollout in the near future.

The free app — which is currently only available on Android — aims to help small business connect with their customers and build a presence on WhatsApp. In essence, it is WhatsApp’s own version of a Facebook Page.

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