Happy Friday, and welcome to another edition of the Weekly Buzz—your source for the latest in digital marketing and tech.
On the docket today: Meta rolls out new updates on Threads, Clubhouse is back with a revamped identity, X tightens its restrictions on data scraping, and Chrome unveils a fresh new look.
Ready? Let’s get buzzing!
Meta’s Threads app introduces a search function in multiple countries
Threads, the latest social app under Meta’s umbrella, has introduced a significant update by rolling out a long-awaited Search function in several countries. The feature is now officially available just six days after Meta owner Mark Zuckerberg teased its arrival.
Countries fortunate to receive this new capability include the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Mexico, and Argentina, according to reports from TechCrunch.
While Threads initially launched with a minimalistic interface, it has gradually enhanced its user experience. The app now supports desktop usage, boasts a Following feed, includes a separate feed for reposts, and allows users to add custom alt text to their content.
However, notable features are still missing despite these improvements as users continue to voice on the platform. Among the requests are the inclusion of hashtags, an edit function, and trending topics, reflecting ongoing user expectations for a more comprehensive and feature-rich social experience.
Clubhouse reinvents itself: From audio-only to social messaging app
Clubhouse, the social audio platform that created a lot of buzz during the pandemic, is returning boldly with a revamped identity. Originally known for hosting audio-based conversations, the platform has been reimagined as more of a messaging app.
In response to the evolving landscape, Clubhouse has introduced a prominent feature called “Chats.” This new feature focuses on voice-only chats, transforming the platform into a more personalized space for users and their friends. Unlike the previous anonymous chat rooms with broader communities, these group voice chats can now be set to “friends only” or “friends-of-friends.”
The user interface has undergone significant enhancements, becoming even more colourful and personalized than traditional messaging apps like WhatsApp. While the app retains live rooms, it is evident that Clubhouse is shifting its focus towards fostering intimate social interactions and strengthening connections with friends.
The updated algorithm emphasizes interactions with friends, reflecting the platform’s commitment to making conversations with loved ones more accessible and enjoyable. This revitalized Clubhouse experience is available on iOS and Android, promising a new era of social networking with a more engaging and personalized touch.
X tightens restrictions on data scraping and crawling in updated terms
X, formerly known as Twitter, has implemented significant changes in its service terms, effective September 29.
The revised terms now explicitly prohibit scraping and crawling of its platform without “prior written consent.” This update is seen as a measure to thwart AI models that rely on its data for training purposes.
In the previous terms, crawling was allowed per robots.txt rules, but the new terms clarify that scraping the platform without consent is expressly forbidden.
X has also adjusted its robots.txt file to prevent crawlers from accessing specific data points, including likes, retweets, and account-related details. This move indicates a growing commitment to safeguarding user data and curtailing widespread data harvesting.
Elon Musk has been vocal about opposing companies using Twitter/X data to train AI models. In April, he even threatened legal action against Microsoft for alleged unauthorized use of social network data for AI training. In July, Musk filed a scraping lawsuit against unidentified entities involved in data scraping.
The tightening of restrictions and clearer terms of service reflect X’s determination to protect user data and maintain control over how external entities access and utilize its platform.
Chrome’s fresh look: Google unveils Material You redesign for desktop
In the coming weeks, users can expect refreshed icons focusing on legibility and new colour palettes that enhance the appearance of tabs and the toolbar. The redesign introduces more rounded elements, particularly noticeable in the corners near the top of the window.
But the changes don’t stop at the browser interface. Google is also revamping the Chrome Web Store with a Material You-inspired design with rounded corners. These updates are already available in a public preview.
Additionally, Google is enhancing Chrome’s safety features. Instead of checking potentially dangerous sites against a locally stored list, Chrome will now perform real-time checks against Google’s list of harmful sites. This change aims to improve protection against malware and phishing threats, with a projected 25 percent boost in threat prevention efficiency.
That Friday feeling…