Welcome to Connected Church News!

Top 5 latest Digital, Social Media & Web3 News in 5 minutes, to help your ministry stay on top of industry trends. 

This week, we have news about Instagram, TikTok, WhatsApp, Facebook, Apple.

🗞️ News 1: Instagram Reels Templates Get an Upgraded Discovery, Creation & Editing   

Source: Instagram

Instagram has announced improvements to the Reels template feature. Now you will be able to see an improved template browser, which will help you organize your templates by Trending templates, Recommended templates, and also templates based on the audio that you have saved. I think this is a useful feature, because many of us look at Reels, we find good ones, then we save the audio. Now if there are templates that are using the audio then it might be easier for you to re-use that template. So it could be a useful thing for your social media team in your ministry. Please share this news with them. The announcement also says that they are simplifying the process of creating reels from templates by pre-adding all the template elements to your Reels as you get started. Then you can go in and you can edit those elements. For example, they say, “when you create a template today, the audio, number of clips, duration of clips, and AR effects will automatically be added to your Reels”.

🗞️ News 2: TikTok Joins the FIDO Alliance & Introduces Passkeys for iOS Devices   

Source: TikTok

TikTok has announced that they are introducing Pass keys authentication feature for all iOS users of the app. Passkeys are actually a biometric authentication system that is encrypted cryptographically and it is something that is being promoted by an alliance called FIDO alliance, which has some big names like Apple, Google and Microsoft. And all these big companies are trying to solve the problem that comes with passwords, both in terms of security, attacks. And also convenience, because the more online facilities that you use, more services that you use, more passwords you have to remember. So it’s also from a user experience perspective, but also from a security perspective. They’re trying to get rid of the whole password system totally, trying to authenticate everything using biometric authentication.

🗞️ News 3: WhatsApp Launches Standalone App for Smartwatches on Google Wear OS  

Source: WhatsApp

WhatsApp announces that they are releasing a full standalone app for all smartwatches that are going to work on Google Wear OS. So it’s not for Apple Watch. Apple Watch, by the way, is the dominant player in the smartwatches industry, but right now WhatsApp is coming only to Google Wear OS users. This app is almost fully functional like the regular mobile app. People can read chat, and reply using voice or text from the watch, and they can mute a chat, they can block and report chats, verify end to end encryption, view images& stickers, playback voice messages, send outgoing reactions, and also, of course, answer any phone calls that are being directed to WhatsApp. All of this can be done even if you leave your phone behind and just carry the watch that runs on Google Wear OS.

🗞️ News 4: Facebook Renames ‘Watch’ Tab; Adds New Video Features & Improves UX       

Source: Meta 

This could be an important news for the video team inside your ministry. Facebook has renamed its Watch tab and now it’s calling it Video tab. And it is not just a renaming of the tab, it has added functionalities and changed the way it presents videos on the platform. This video tab will now have the long form content, it will have live content, it will also have Reels kind of short content. So pass this information on to your team and ask them to check out how your ministry videos are appearing inside the tab. The vision behind this change seems to be Facebook wanting to improve the time that people spend on the app by watching more videos, which is good for the ministry. The other interesting part of this announcement is the tighter integration of Facebook Reels with Instagram Reels, where you will be able to view and edit comments for Instagram Reels right within Facebook.

🗞️ News 5: [AI News] Apple’s Chatbot Plans; Meta & Microsoft Partner on Llama 2 

Source: Bloomberg | Microsoft

In our AI News Roundup, we have news from the three big names of the tech industry, Apple, Microsoft, and Meta. Bloomberg reported last week that Apple is testing a new chatbot with a large language model, similar to chatGPT, and they nicknamed it as Apple GPT. Knowing Apple, they generally don’t use the same words that the industry uses. For example, they didn’t talk about AI much in their last announcement. I don’t think they’re going to use the word GPT, but let’s see, let’s wait and watch. The other big announcement about AI came from Meta and Microsoft. Meta announced the availability of the new large language model LLAMA2, which is now available for free for commercial use and also for research purposes. And the announcement says that Microsoft and Meta are expanding their long standing partnership, with Microsoft as the preferred partner for Llama2.

Connected Church News: Digital, Social Media & Web3 – Week 4, Jul 2023
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