This Week’s Tech, Digital and Business News: 6 – 9 April

Check out this week's tech, digital and business news to discover our top picks relevant to small businesses. Keep reading to take a dive into this week's news, including new advertising abilities on top platforms, search engine updates to keep an eye on and more...

Top Tech, Digital & Business News from 6 – 9 April 2021

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Say Goodbye to Yahoo Answers as of 4 May 2021

Yahoo announced their long-running platform, Yahoo Answers, will be turned off on 4 May 2021. The decision comes as a result of the platform having less user activity, giving them the opportunity to shift their resources into products which serve their customers better.

A reduction in users on Yahoo Answers could be connected to the increase in voice search, which come from frequently asked questions and snippets in search engine results.

Yahoo Search currently receives more than 600 million users every month, as well as their digital content and email communication products.

Facebook’s New Feature will Allow Users to Better Control Comments

Facebook has revealed their latest feature will allow comments to be limited or completely disabled on public posts. While Facebook users can currently change their account privacy to different settings, they will soon be able to change the privacy settings of individual posts.

Facebook Product Manager, Ramya Sethuraman, wrote, “…if you’re a public figure, creator or brand, you too can choose to limit your commenting audience on your public posts to help you feel safe and engage in more meaningful conversations with your community.”

This new ability is not available on ads or shared posts, but will include a snooze function to allow users to temporarily hide posts from any person, page or account or turn off political ads.

Instagram Releases New Reels Feature

Instagram has unveiled a new addition to their Reels feature called Remix, which will allow users to respond to another video split-screen, similar to TikTok’s Duet feature. Remix will help content creators produce more content and receive more engagement.

The new feature will help make Reels become more social, allowing video replies and encouraging more engagement and reach for highly shareable videos.

Remix is only available to videos uploaded after the feature’s release, so unfortunately users cannot duet older Reels.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Spike in National Homebuilding Approvals has Construction Companies Struggling to Meet Demand

An increase in Australian building approvals is creating issues for the homebuilders and the construction industry, which cannot meet demands for large amounts of new construction projects.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics stated the number of homes approved in February increased by more than 20% month-on-month to nearly 19,500 following a 19.4% drop in January. This has been the highest recorded amount of approvals in a month since 1983.

Tim Reardon, Housing Industry Association Chief Economist, says it’s the largest demand ever seen, a positive for the industry.

“We’ve never built this number of homes in a calendar year before,” Reardon says.

Skill Finder Receives $2.7 Million Grant from the Australian Government

The Australian Government granted $2.7 million to Skill Finder, a digital skill-building marketplace offering users highly requested digital micro-skills for free.

Businesses can use the platform to upskill employees and save on training costs, while ensuring they’re getting quality training.

The platform is supported by Canva, Xero, MYOB, Google, Adobe and Microsoft and was built by Melbourne company Balance Internet.

Skill Finder currently has over 1,100 courses, created by 24 providers including Cisco, Accenture, Facebook, Apple, TAFE NSW and more, with plans to keep expanding their courses.

Facebook Users Data Has Been Leaked Again

More than 533 million Facebook users have had their data leaked online last week. Facebook has acknowledged the breach, with it being a reminder to consumers to update your password regularly.

While it’s difficult to determine if your account information has been leaked or not, taking appropriate steps to ensure you have the best cyber security on your account can help prevent hackers in the future.

Having an effective password and limiting your account’s privacy if you have a personal account can help limit access to your information.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Canva Releasing More New Features for Better Content

Canva announced their new features yesterday, expanding the Aussie giant’s usability for content creators. The new features include workplace templates, talking presentations, Canva Live, mobile-first presentations and ‘magic’ shortcuts, in addition to charts and infographics.

These features will further help content creators and businesses with easy, yet effective, content design and creation available for any user. A standout feature is Canva Live, which will allow users to share their presentations with users by code, who will also be able to ask questions in real time.

Canva is once again pivoting into new areas of the digital world, assisting its users with effortless workplace creativity tools.

Pinterest’s ‘Be Their Next’ Campaign for Businesses

Pinterest has launched their ‘Be Their Next’ campaign, aimed at advertisers considering Pinterest to find consumers.

The campaign is aimed at helping connect businesses with consumers using the platform for future decision making (like interior design, landscaping, etc.), with Pinterest releasing new advertising abilities in the near future to further support this.

Pinterest’s Global Head of Business Marketing, Jim Habig, says, “Ads on Pinterest are not only useful, they are additive to the Pinner’s experience. They help consumers determine their future projects, and ultimately, influence their next purchase decision.”

Advertisers will be able to target their audience with video-based advertisements, access insights and other new features for businesses on Pinterest.

Creators Can Now Make Money on Clubhouse

Clubhouse announced on Monday, 5 April 2021, their newest feature, Clubhouse Payments, a new monetisation feature allowing users to send money to creators on the app.

There is no fee for using the feature, with 100% of the payment going to the creator.

Clubhouse unveiled the payment feature in a blog post, which also suggests there will be more monetisation options for creators in the future.

In the announcement, Clubhouse said, “This will be the first of many features that allow creators to get paid directly on Clubhouse.”

Friday, 9 April 2021

Zip Co Releases New BNPL Product for B2B, Offering SMEs up to $150,000 Credit

Australian buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) giant Zip Co has released a new business-to-business payment product for SMEs. With Zip Business Trade Plus, businesses can receive $3,000 to $150,000 credit, with the first 60 days being interest free or can be paid in four monthly installments for a 3% fee.

This move will help small businesses have more control over their cash flow through easier access to capital.

Zip Co promises approvals in less than 24 hours, however Geof Alexander, Zip Co Business General Manager, claims they usually come through in about 30 minutes.

Social Media Giants Facebook, Instagram & WhatsApp Experience Widespread Outages

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have all experienced outages overnight, which now seem to be resolved.

Instagram and WhatsApp are both owned by Facebook, with all three platforms experiencing issues at the same time, with Instagram Tweeting during the outage “Is your #instagramdown? We know some people are having issues right now. We’re working on it and hope to have everything running smoothly as soon as possible.”

DownDetector reports show the platforms went down just after 5pm E.T, with over 18,000 reports for Facebook’s outage at 5:23pm E.T. and 10,330 reports for Instagram at 5:19pm E.T.

Live Today: Google Updates Ranking for Product Reviews

Google announced their product reviews update, which will reward content users find the most helpful.

“Google Search is always working to show the most useful and helpful information possible, through testing, experimenting and review processes. From this, we know people appreciate product reviews that share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products. That’s why we’re sharing an improvement to our ranking systems, which we call the product reviews update, that’s designed to better reward such content,” Google said in a blog post.

Sites who publish product reviews should keep an eye on their traffic to notice any fluctuations as a result of this update, which has gone live today.

Reviews with short summaries will struggle to rank as high as they did before, with more in-depth and insightful product reviews to be valued more highly from now on.

Note: Monday is not included in this week’s news due to it being a public holiday.

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