Google says Allo with its new messaging app

Our round up of this week's social media news and insights:

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Google says Allo with its new messaging app

Google has moved into the mobile messaging market dominated by Facebook apps such as WhatsApp and Messenger. The internet giant hopes its investment in artificial intelligence will set its rival service, called Allo, apart. The app, which launched on Wednesday, also provides an outlet for Google’s new intelligent digital assistant. It is a major selling point for the company, which revealed users will be able to ask Google Assistant questions while remaining in the chat, avoiding the need to jump around other apps, as is the case with other messaging services. ‘You no longer need to leave a conversation with friends just to grab an address, share your favourite YouTube video or pick a dinner spot’, a Google blog revealed. Instead, users will be able to type @google to bring up their Assistant in any Allo group chat, or also to hold one-to-one conversations with it. The app has a Smart Reply feature, which suggests responses to chats a user can select and send with just a tap.

The search giant has dubbed Allo ‘the next chapter in a journey Google has been on for many years to assist people in their everyday lives’. The launch follows a long line of messaging initiatives at Google, with previous services such as Google Talk, Google Chat and Hangouts failing to match the popularity of Facebook’s messaging apps.

PR and Marketing in Social Media

Facebook Messenger Bot helps smokers quit in Stoptober campaign

The annual Stoptober campaign to encourage the UK’s seven million smokers to quit is back for a fifth year in October, and now has support from a new Facebook Messenger bot. Public Health England’s (PHE) widespread campaign will continue to offer daily email support and advice from an updated Stoptober app. However, this time the initiative will receive a boost from the Stoptober Facebook Messenger bot, which will offer instant practical support to social media users struggling with cravings or who need a motivational pick up. The bot will also send daily support messages. Next month’s campaign will be supported by a number of celebrity ambassadors including former cricketer Phil Tufnell and Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood who will attempt to give up cigarettes themselves. PHE’s marketing director Sheila Mitchell revealed the organisation was using the bot to ‘ensure Stoptober is supporting smokers to quit in the most popular communication channels’.

Facebook was chosen as the main social channel for this year’s campaign based on insights into what works best for the Stoptober audience.

Social Media Brands...

#FirstFiver social media charity appeal goes viral

Fundraiser John Thompson’s social media push to encourage people to donate the first new polymer £5 note they receive to charity, has gone viral. The corporate fundraising consultant and recruiter started the ball rolling with a poll on Twitter, in which he asked: ‘’I’ll donate the first new five pound note I get to charity. Will you?’. His campaign was then championed by the professional membership body for UK fundraisers using the hashtags #firstfiver and #givefive, helping it to go viral. The Institute of Fundraising also tweeted: ‘They say you can do a lot with the new plastic fivers. How about donating it to charity.’ Since the campaign’s launch, charities have adopted the hashtags to appeal for donations, while social media users have been sharing photos of their banknotes and details of which cause they are backing.

Director of policy at the Institute of Fundraising Ceri Edwards praised the social initiative, saying: ‘Sometimes a simple idea shared at the right time can make a world of difference.’ The new plastic fivers, which feature Sir Winston Churchill, went into circulation last week. The Bank of England said they should last around five years longer than paper money, being cleaner, safer and stronger.

Governments are requesting more Twitter user data

Twitter experienced a 13% increase in official requests to remove posts in the first half of the year, with the largest volume coming from Turkey and Russia, according to the social network’s latest transparency report. The biannual study details the legal requests Twitter has received in regard to content removal, user information and intellectual property-related requests. Overall, Twitter received 4,434 requests for content removal from governments or police agencies during the first six months of 2016, with an additional 761 court orders, the report revealed. These requests were focused on 20,594 accounts, with Twitter taking no action on 15,195 of them. The requests typically concern content deemed illegal by local law.

Tumblr brings Apple’s Live Photos to the web

Tumblr is bringing Apple’s Live Photos to the web version of its service, as well as rolling out tools to allow other web developers to do the same. Apple introduced Live Photos - a combination of a still image and a short video - with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Now Tumblr will transcode files posted by users from their iOS device and make it work on all browsers. Tumblr is also releasing an open source JavaScript library called “Laphs” - or Live Anywhere Photos - which will support Live Photos on any website. Tumblr was an early adopter of Live Photos, which are similar to GIFs, and they are hugely popular on the blogging site. Tumblr was the first third-party service to implement them, beating Facebook by weeks and Google Photos by months. It also supports turning Live Photos into GIFs via a GIF Maker feature on mobile. But will this move help Live Photos spread beyond mobile? It seems unlikely. The image isn't as smooth as the animation produced by the likes of Google's Motion Stills

However, through Laphs, Tumblr could potentially drive further adoption of Live Photos even beyond its own site. And the company is working to bring Live Photos to Android, as well, it says.”

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