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This Week's News: 2021/10/21

This Week's News: 2021/10/21

Hotspex Media Team

Facebook’s digital wallet finally launches... without Diem cryptocurrency

TLDR
  • Facebook is finally starting to roll out a “small pilot” of its Novi digital wallet in the US and Guatemala, more than two years after it was first announced. 
Brief

Facebook's Novi digital wallet will let users send and receive money “instantly, securely, and with no fees” using the Paxos stablecoin, in partnership with Coinbase. The pilot is meant to “test core feature functions, and operational capabilities in customer care and compliance,” in addition to trying to demonstrate a viable use of stablecoins for payments. Most notably, though, is the fact that Novi is launching without its biggest feature: the Facebook-backed Diem cryptocurrency that was meant to be the cornerstone of the project. But Diem is still facing regulatory approval and has yet to launch its cryptocurrency in any country. Diem plans to launch just a single, US-based stablecoin tied to the dollar (instead of the broader scope the company had originally planned), but it's telling that the token wasn’t ready for Novi’s pilot. Novi is still committed to Diem and will launch with the cryptocurrency when it does go live. The launch, however, establishes just how much Novi and Diem have been reduced in scope and scale since Facebook’s original announcement, and how far the company has to go to achieve its goal of a truly mainstream cryptocurrency.


Instagram Launches New Features for Reels and Feed

TLDR
  • On October 19, Instagram is introducing Collabs, which allows users to co-author feed posts and Reels.
  • On October 20, users can start a fundraiser from the profile tab.
  • On October 21, Instagram debuts its Superbeat for Reels and feed creation for desktop web. 
Brief

Instagram Collabs allows users to co-author feed posts and Reels. From the tagging screen, users can invite collaborators. If accepted, the content will be displayed on both accounts, and both account titles will appear in the header. The posts/Reels will also have a shared like count, view count, and comment section. On October 20, users can start a fundraiser from the “+” creation button in the top right corner where nonprofits can be selected to be added to a feed post. While the fundraiser feature isn’t new, the update streamlines the process which can be done right from the profile tab. On October 21, Superbeat will be made available and will apply special effects to the beat of the featured song which can be incorporated in unison with Dynamic or 3D lyric effects to make the content even more engaging.


Walmart Tests Text-To-Shop Tool

TLDR
  • Walmart is testing a text-to-shop tool in select areas
Brief

The retailer didn't say when it will release its Text to Shop feature to everyone, but is expected in the future. Walmart has been experimenting with voice ordering for several years. The announcement comes over a year and a half after the mass merchant discontinued Jet Black, a shop-by-text service geared toward urban customers that were out of reach of Walmart's stores. In 2017, the company introduced its voice shopping feature, which allowed shoppers to buy items via Google Home and Google Home Mini devices. About two years later, the retail giant let shoppers order their groceries via Google Assistant-enabled devices like iPhones, Google Home and Android devices. While previous research has indicated an uptick in conversational commerce channels, experts say the technology has a ways to go before it reaches mass adoption.

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