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Instagram’s Working on a Disappearing Messages Option

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This comes as little surprise, given that WhatsApp is developing the same thing, but this week, Instagram has confirmed that it’s also working on a new disappearing messages option within its Direct tools

Instagram Direct disappearing

Spotted by reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong, the new option, at least at this stage, would see all of your messages disappear from the chat window after you’d read them and navigated to another section of the app. 

In this iteration, there doesn’t appear to be any time limit controls within Insta’s auto-delete settings, but that’s probably the next stage, because as noted, Facebook-owned WhatsApp is also looking to add the same functionality, though with added control elements for your disappearing communications.

WhatsApp disappearing messages

Why does it matter what WhatsApp is developing in this respect?

Because as Facebook announced over a year ago, it’s working towards eventually merging its messaging apps – Messenger, Instagram Direct and WhatsApp – to enable simplified cross-platform communication via message.

Facebook confirmed that it’s still working towards its messaging unification plan in August last year, and with that being the case, WhatsApp’s development team would be well aware that any feature that they’re working on now would also, eventually, have to integrate with Messenger and Direct.

And given that WhatsApp’s still working on its disappearing message tools, you would expect that Instagram and Messenger will follow suit. WhatsApp’s variation, as you can see in the above screenshots, is more advanced, because it’s been working on it for some time, so while Instagram’s version doesn’t yet have the same level of sophistication, it will. Messenger will also be working on the same. 

That means that you’ll likely soon have a new option for communicating with friends via the three apps, with disappearing messages in the main chat window. Messenger actually already has a variation of this available, as does Instagram, but this new version, as noted, looks set to have more controls – which could also, potentially, provide more ways in which brands might be able to use them for outreach and interactive promotions.

Snapchat saw a lot of brand success early on with expiring offers, and with variable time limits on your disappearing messages, this could be even more useful. 

But then again, regulatory bodies will likely not be happy at Facebook adding in a disappearing message option. Already, WhatsApp has come under fire over how it’s used by bad actors, with end-to-end encryption protecting their activities. US regulators have also raised concerns about Facebook’s broader messaging merger plan. Adding in an auto-delete option won’t help the company ingratiate itself with such groups, but Facebook does look set to push either way. 

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That could set up some interesting conflicts in future, while if Facebook does officially announce this disappearing message option, you can also expect pushback on some sides.  

But given Instagram’s confirmation, it does appear to be on the way. We’ll keep you updated on any progress.

Socialmediatoday.com

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

Searchenginejournal.com

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