Twitter’s about to look a whole lot better

Ever find it annoying how when you upload photos to Twitter, or scroll through your timeline and see image previews in other tweets, that sometimes the preview is showing the most irrelevant part of the image. It makes it appears badly cropped, and it’s doing your interactions any favours. Well, from now on, Twitter is using AI to show the best part of your image within image previews.

What counts as the best way part of the image? The most eye-catching apart – this could be faces, text, animals or regions of high contrast. Much better than the default focus onto the centre of the image.

The new image previews started rolling out last week, so you should already be seeing some much more pleasing cropping on the network. Take a look next time you scroll through.

The war on Snapchat continues

One of Snapchat’s best features is its use of AR. It’s got it nailed and is one of the main reasons many still flock to the app – for the amusing filters. However, we all know Facebook couldn’t let Snapchat have the crown for took long, and so have upped the ante. Facebook are currently working on full body AR. This involves tracking whole body movements in real time to replace the body with an avatar.

Facebook’s research team have utilised ‘MaskRCNN2GO Architecture’ to achieve full body AR. It’s a framework used to detect objects, and then predict key points so that a mask can be applied using segmentation. It’s optimized for mobile devices, being both accurate but able to run without large memory requirements.

With this development, watch out for full body lenses/filters in coming months. It’s also going to be very interesting keeping an eye on Snapchat to see if they do anything similar.

A new social network which definitely isn’t Vine 2.0

Who remembers the wonderful days of Vine? Vine was a platform for short looping videos which was loved by many. After being acquired by Twitter, the service was actually shut down in late 2016 – much to the disappointment of devoted Vine fans.

All is not lost, however, with co-founder Dom Hofmann announcing that he was working on a follow up to Vine in November last year. Since then there have been a flurry of updates, with the current new name being V2. Dom has said that the three principles for this second iteration will be:

  • Give equal voice to every artist
  • Be as generous as possible to every artist
  • Foster a civilised, kind, inclusive, and absolutely non-toxic community.

It’s looking like V2 will operate in a similar way to the original platform, and will still feature short, looping videos, but with a great emphasis on copyrighted content and ensuring that creators are protected.

I’ll keep you updated on V2 in future editions of Becca’s Hype. For now, you could take a look at the new Twitter account for the platform, @v2app.

Jazz up your Instagram Stories

Personally, I am slowly but surely using Instagram Stories more and more, and this new feature might help try it some more. As of last week, Instagram has enabled users to add GIFs to stories, thanks to a new partnership with GIPHY.

You’ll be able to access GIFs in the same way you can currently add stickers to your Story, except now you will be able to access all the trending GIFs on GIPHY, as well as being able to search for whatever you desire.

In addition to this, you can now upload images and video of any size from your camera roll to your Story. Simply choose the file you want to add from your library and then position how you like. Any space around the image/video will be filled with a gradient taking colours from your content, so you can be sure everything still looks pleasing on the eye. This is great if you’ve got a video or image you want to share without cropping.

I like this feature a lot and it’s definitely making Instagram very appealing over Snapchat.

That’s all for this week’s Becca’s Hype. Which story interested you the most? Let me know on Twitter @beccasocial.