Weekly Buzz: Google Introduces AI for Holiday Shopping

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Great news! Thanks to a brand-new edition of the Weekly Buzz, your Friday just got even better.

What’s the latest in the world of digital marketing? Today, we’re chatting about Google’s AI-powered approach to holiday shopping, Bluesky’s big celebration, the fate of DMs on Threads, and creative updates on Instagram.

Read on for the full scoop!

Google’s AI-powered holiday shopping: Personalized gift ideas, visual searches, and virtual try-ons

Google is gearing up to simplify holiday shopping by harnessing the power of AI, unveiling three new features to assist consumers in finding and buying gifts.

These innovations are built upon Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE), integrating generative AI into its search engine to enhance the shopping experience.

Gift Idea Exploration Powered by AI

SGE now offers personalized gift ideas when users search for specific phrases like “great gifts for home cooks.” AI generates tailored subcategories, such as specialty tools or cooking classes, and presents shoppable gift options from various brands and small businesses. This feature helps shoppers pinpoint the perfect gifts for their recipients based on unique preferences.

Shopping Via AI-Generated Images

A new mobile feature enables users to visualize and find clothing items by generating photorealistic images from their search terms. For example, searching for a “colourful, patterned puffer jacket” prompts AI-generated images matching the description, which users can refine until they find the perfect match. Similar products are then displayed for purchase.

Expanded Virtual Try-On for Clothing

Google is extending its AI-powered virtual try-on technology to include men’s tops. Users searching for men’s tops will see a “try-on” icon for participating brands, allowing them to view the item on various virtual models customized by factors like skin tone and body type.

Google’s AI-driven enhancements aim to make holiday gift hunting “smarter and more confident,” offering a range of tools to streamline the shopping process and help users discover the perfect gifts.

Bluesky celebrates 2 million users and shares what’s next

Bluesky, the social media platform supported by Jack Dorsey, recently celebrated a significant milestone with over 2 million users. This decentralized social app is on a mission to create a “truly open social network” with exciting plans in the works.

One notable development is the addition of a public web interface, allowing users to view posts without needing to log in with an account. Currently, Bluesky requires an invite code for sign-ups, but this move mirrors a feature that was once part of Twitter/X — a nod to its roots.

Bluesky’s top priority is its federation phase, which empowers individuals to set up their own servers using the open-source network AT Protocol. This shift aims to give users more control over their online spaces and allows them to connect with others using AT Protocol, opening up numerous possibilities.

Bluesky emphasizes its commitment to user freedom, stating it’s “billionaire-proof.” Users won’t be beholden to private companies or mysterious algorithms, offering a refreshing alternative to centralized platforms.

According to the platform, there are more features in the pipeline, such as push notifications for mobile, user lists, suggested follows, email verification enhancements, improved thread sorting options, faster loading times, and accessibility upgrades. These improvements are geared towards expanding its user base and positioning Bluesky as a viable alternative to other social platforms.

Notably, Bluesky has experienced a surge in sign-ups, especially when Elon Musk announced a small monthly fee for X users. This growth suggests that Bluesky is making strides toward becoming a significant player in the social media landscape.

Have you joined Bluesky?

Threads and Instagram: The DM mashup we might see soon

What’s happening with Threads and direct messages (DMs)? It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram and Threads, previously said Threads wouldn’t have DMs. But now, he’s hinting at something different.

According to Mosseri, Instagram’s messaging service is the right fit for Threads since Threads is part of the Instagram family. He hopes to merge the Instagram inbox into Threads so you can message people from both platforms and sync your messages. 

But there are challenges, like notifications. If you have two apps with one inbox, who sends you a ping when you get a message? Plus, there’s the big question of what this means for Threads’ plans to work with other apps like Mastodon. And Meta, the company behind it all, wants all its messaging apps to talk to each other. It’s like a big messaging family reunion.

Suppose the Instagram strategy doesn’t pan out. In that case, Threads has two options: either mirror the inbox and let users deal with notifications or create a separate Threads inbox, which means having two message threads with your friends in two different apps. Mosseri doesn’t love either option but doesn’t want to build a whole new messaging system for Threads.

In the end, private messaging is coming to Threads, but how and when? 

Instagram’s creative revamp: New filters, editing features, custom stickers and more

Instagram is undergoing significant changes, with a renewed focus on its creative tools. To enhance user content, the Meta-owned app is introducing several new features, including its first batch of new filters in a long time, totalling 25 new additions on iOS.

These filters offer a wide range of options, from subtle colour adjustments to expressive styles, allowing users to experiment with various looks for their posts. Some filters, like “wide angle” and “wavy,” significantly alter original images beyond colour and tone adjustments.

The update targets users of other editing apps like VSCO and Picsart by expanding its filter range with options like “colour leak” and “zoom blur,” aiming to provide a comprehensive editing experience within the platform.

For Reels, Instagram is testing the ability to scale, crop, and rotate individual clips, along with adding undo and redo buttons. Ten new English text-to-speech voices are also being introduced in select countries, as well as new fonts for improved readability.

One exciting addition is the ability to create custom stickers from your own photos and videos or eligible content on Instagram, leveraging the platform’s Segment Anything AI model.

Additional changes include a streamlined drafts view, enhanced access to the audio page in Reels, and more comprehensive data for creators. In the coming months, creators will gain insights into the number of viewers moment by moment.

In sum, Instagram’s creative overhaul offers users a wealth of new tools to enhance their posts, making it easier to create captivating content and connect with their audience.

Friday Fun

This next video needs no introduction. 💃🕺

Line drawn peony from Spodek & Co Digital marketing site