Some funny and nostalgic news this week.
Here are the digital stories you might have missed, with added doll’s house, peeing and Snapchat.
YouTube launches Super Chat
YouTube has a new feature in beta, ready to launch on January 31, called Super Chat.
Super Chat helps creators make money from their live streams by connecting with their fans, who will be able to pay to have a highlighted message in the comments stream (see below).
Such a message will stick at the top of the comments for five hours. As Techcrunch points out in its coverage, this is a feature not dissimilar to chat rooms on porn sites, where users can buy tokens to post messages.
“Alexa, order me a doll’s house”
A young girl in America cleverly/deviously ordered a doll’s house from her home’s Echo speaker.
In reporting the incident on local news, a newsreader repeated her command in his commentary and triggered new orders from some Echo owners who were watching the channel.
Amazon wants Echo owners to enable password protection for voice-activated purchasing.
WeChat now has its own ‘app’ store
Tencent’s WeChat has created its own ‘app’ store, though Apple won’t allow the ‘mini programs’ it provides to be called apps.
More than 100 mini programs are available from third-party developers, allowing users to perform such actions as ordering a ride through Didi or buying a gift though JD.com.
None of the royalties from purchases within mini programs will be taken by WeChat, a slight difference to Apple’s model.
10 years of the iPhone
A large touch screen, $499, no App Store, and you needed a computer to set it up – yep, it’s the 2007 iPhone.
Has there been a more important innovation in the past decade? As the Tech FT newsletter points out, even a disappointing $137bn worth of sales in 2016 (down on 2016) was enough to exceed any other US tech company.
The Facebook Journalism Project
As the impact of Facebook on the consumption of news becomes clearer and more scary, the social network has launched the Facebook Journalism Project.
The project will create deeper relationships with publishers, including giving early access to new tools and features.
Snapchat gets antsy about UK ‘HQ’
Snapchat announced a London office where a new British entity will pay taxes on local ad revenue, unlike other online ad giants that are set up in EU countries with lower tax rates.
After the media reported this new office as Snapchat’s ‘international HQ’, the camera company released a statement clarifying it is not to be regarded as an HQ.
Some journalists were bemused by Snapchat’s request to amend their coverage.
@larakiara They sent us an email asking us to change ‘hq’ to ‘hub’. I said no. Can’t see what the issue is.
— Sarah Vizard (@scviz) January 12, 2017
Buzzfeed unveils ‘failing pile of garbage’ merch
Donald Trump, in his first press conference as president-elect, described BuzzFeed as a “failing pile of garbage” after the site published unverified reports about Trump-Russia ties.
Buzzfeed quickly reacted with a sense of pride and a range of merchandise. My particular favourite is the bumper sticker shown below, with all proceeds going to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Snapchat adds universal search bar
The addition should make navigation easier, particularly for new users. The search facility will always be visible at the top of the app, helping to find friends, groups and stories.
Search has launched on Android and will soon hit iOS.
M&S Christmas sales boon
British retailer Marks & Spencer saw sales of Christmas clothing and homeware rise for the first time in two years.
Sales were up 2.3%, which was higher than expected, even given the extra shopping days during the 2016 holiday. Food sales were up by 0.6%. More from the BBC.