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Gadgets International Review

Google, Facebook and Twitter Unveil New App Functions

Fill Me In

On 30 September, social media platforms Google, Facebook and Twitter rolled out new features on their platforms, specially designed to ease and enhance the lives of users all over the world. 

Google’s Hold For Me

Google launched a brand-new phone app feature, known as Hold For Me, which aims to save time spent being on hold when they make phone calls to businesses or toll-free numbers. 

This means that when a user is put on hold, Google Assistant will now hold the call for the user, thus freeing him up to return to his other tasks. When the business phone’s operator is ready to speak, the user will receive a sound, vibration and an on-screen notification for him to return to the call. 

Hold For Me will be made available for early preview on Google’s latest mobile phones, the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G), as a mobile app. This comes as an addition to other features that Google has released to make phone calls more seamless for users.

Last year, Google introduced an update to the Call Screen, which allows users to avoid interruptions from spam calls. Just last month, Google also launched Verified Calls to help users identify why they are receiving calls from businesses. 

Integrated messenger for Facebook and Instagram

On the note of making communication more convenient and seamless for users, Facebook has integrated its Messenger features with Instagram Direct Messages. 

In an statement by Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, and Stan Chudnovsky, Head of Messenger, they explained that the integration of Messenger and Instagram aims to provide users with “access to the best messaging experience, no matter which app [they] use”.

Instagram users have the option of deciding if they want to update their apps to enjoy this new function. However, they will not be able to revert to the old format once they download the update.

The main difference between the new integrated Messenger app is that people using the current Messenger app will be able to contact users on Instagram, and vice versa. Users will also be able to control where they receive messages and calls.

Additionally, users of this new function can still enjoy the familiar features from Messenger, such as replying to a specific message, message forwarding and customisable chat colours. 

More details on the new Messenger can be found here

Twitter enhances voice Tweets function

Making social media more accessible and seamless also means making it easier for people with disabilities to communicate with others online as well.

Since Twitter introduced the voice Tweets function in June this year, the company has been continually refining this function by garnering feedback from users who are visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing. 

It has announced that it will be rolling out the voice Tweets function to more iOS users, and is currently working to make transcription available to ease the usage of the voice Tweet function. 

That’s not all. In its efforts to create a culture of inclusivity, Dalana Brand, vice president of Twitter’s People Experience and Head of Inclusion and Diversity, as well as Kayvon Beykpour, product lead of Twitter have also introduced two new teams that are dedicated to improving the usability of the platform for the disabled: 

  • The Accessibility Center for Excellence, which will be in charge of setting goals, driving progress, consulting and partnering with groups to make Twitter more accessible. 
  • The Experience Accessibility Team, which will work on improving existing features and products, to provide resources and tools that promote greater accessibility on the microblogging platform. 

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