Instagram Embracing the Time Well Spent Movement: Whether you want to know or not, Instagram will soon be launching a time spent feature that lets us know how much time we’re using the app. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom tweeted, “Understanding how time online impacts people is important, and it’s the responsibility of all companies to be honest about this. We want to be part of the solution.” We can’t wait to see these numbers and what they indicate about consumer behavior. (LINK)
Google News (AI) Launches: The new AI-powered Google News app is now available on iOS and Android. Go get it! This version uses machine learning to train algorithms to comb through complex or breaking news stories, and then break them down for you in easy-to-understand formats like chronological timelines, local news aggregation, and stories. It will be personalized to you, learn from you, and get better over time. (LINK)
YouTube Music Is Coming on Tuesday: YouTube is expanding its role as the largest online source for music by introducing a formal YouTube Music service next week. This is big news because YouTube has content that competitors (like Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music) lack — like music videos, remixes, and live performances. They’ve also promised thousands of playlists, a radio feature, recommendation engine, and a new mobile app. Although a lot of this will be free, the company will offer a Premium experience with downloads and ad-free features for $9.99 a month. More than a billion people come to YouTube specifically for music, and we believe these features will only increase that number. (LINK)
Twitch Plays SNL: Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch is streaming a 48-hour marathon of the very best bits of Saturday Night Live right this second – all leading up to SNL Season 43’s final episode (Tina Fey and Nicki Minaj) tomorrow night. Watch it live right now! As part of the deal with NBCUniversal, Twitch creators can co-stream the SNL marathon while adding their own commentary. This partnership comes as Twitch continues to look for ways to compete with Google’s YouTube (see above!) and as SNL continues to look for ways to diversify its audience mix. (LINK)
Yanni or Laurel? Just like that dress that’s either gold and white or blue and black, the two unrelated words “Yanny” and “Laurel” broke the internet this week thanks to a sound file that sounds different to different people. The clip and original poll were posted by high school students who recorded the clip from the vocabulary.com page for “laurel” (the word for a wreath worn on the head “usually a symbol of victory”). Even The White House joined in as the meme spread. Luckily the New York Times built a tool so everyone can hear both. Also, it’s Laurel.