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Weekly Update - March 26, 2022: Photos organization, Hangouts migration to Chat, Instagram feeds

What's new this week? The end of Hangouts draws nearer with migration to Chat, there is better organization in Google Photos, you can (finally) get chronological feeds on Instagram, plus updates for bloggers, video creators and more.

FeedBurner is finally shutting down its feed to email service. In a change originally announced in July 2021, “non core features”, including email subscriptions, are being shut down. In an update posted this month, it was announced the shutdown would be in “the coming weeks”. If you have not exported your email subscribers, now is the time to do so. Learn more about the shutdown and how to export your FeedBurner email subs.

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Top Updates

This week Google Workspace subscribers still using classic Hangouts are starting to be automatically upgraded to Google Chat. This process will take a couple of months and does not (yet) apply to most users with personal Google accounts. The Hangouts app, extension, and Hangouts-in-Gmail will stop working, but Hangouts will still be accessible at Learn more about the move from Hangouts to Chat.

Google Workspace users can also now create discoverable Google Chat Spaces that can be shared with a link to others in their organization. Note that these are not public Spaces and people outside your Google Workspace organization will not be able to join these shareable Spaces. I expect to see more updates along these lines in preparation for the migration of Currents Communities to Spaces in 2023.

Google Photos announced some “spring cleaning” updates this week. In the past, Google’s “spring cleaning” announcements (like here and here) have usually been about removal of product features. So it was a nice surprise that in this case the announcement gives, rather than takes away. Google Photos has new mobile app features, including a sortable library tab, a new “import photos” section (to copy photos from another service or digitize photos), better organized sharing tab, and easier to find screenshots. It truly sounds like it should be “cleaner”.

Instagram now offers two new chronological feeds: Favorites and Following. These are going to be very useful as Instagram plans to “add more recommendations to your feed based on your interests”. Those recommendations may swamp out posts from accounts you chose to follow. You can have up to 50 Favorites, which can help you find those posts that you really don’t want to miss.

YouTube and Video

YouTube answered questions about Shorts on the Creator Insider channel. YouTube is working on Shorts-specific analytics, which is good news. Is it OK to create Shorts from existing longer videos? Yes, repurpose your content! Do you need a separate Shorts channel? It depends… Learn more.

Meta is cracking down on “watchbait” videos on Facebook. Their automated systems detect and reduce the distribution of such videos. What is watchbait? That’s videos where the title, thumbnail or description are misleading, overly sensationalized, or create an “arbitrary curiosity gap”

Twitch is improving content reporting tools and, on the flip side, launching a new appeals portal. This is a step towards providing “more clarity and consistency” in their policy enforcement.

Web Publishing

Google is rolling out an update that should improve their ability to identify high quality product reviews to better rank them in Search results. Google has also provided recommendations for writing what they consider to be a high quality review. What are they looking for? Helpful in-depth details, unique information (not just the manufacturer’s specs), hands-on evaluations, and comparisons to similar products. Hopefully that means fewer articles that are just promoting affiliate products, and more useful content at the top of the search results.

Block Patterns are layouts for using WordPress’s Blocks site elements. WordPress has just launched a Pattern Creator that lets you build and submit Block Patterns to the new WordPress Patterns directory.

Tumblr now lets creators enable tipping on posts. This is available to creators in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom and United States.

Social Media

You can now create a GIF using Twitter’s in-app camera on iOS devices.

Instagram is rolling out the ability for everyone (starting with the US) to tag products in their posts. From the example it looks like it’s a way to add product ads to your posts, but maybe this is a good thing if you are following beauty posters or tech reviewers or the like.

Snapchat has acquired neurotech company NextMind, which has developed brain-computer interfaces for augmented reality (AR) and more. Social Media Today’s Andrew Hutchinson points out Meta (Facebook) has also been working on “brain-to-screen” interfaces. It will be interesting to see if anything exciting comes out a few years from now.

LinkedIn introduced Newsletters for Pages. These are recurring Articles from a Page that people can subscribe to.


Google Meet noise cancellation is now available to all participants in a meeting if the host has noise cancellation available to them. This feature is available to most Google Workspace editions (see the list here). Noise cancellation is not available to personal Google accounts unless the meeting host has noise cancellation.

Zoom has launched video avatars. These are cartoony 3D head-and-shoulder animated animals that replace your video feed. You can use them to “delight your colleagues” (!?), engage children, or “create a special surprise for your webinar panelists”. This is available for Windows, macOS or iOS devices.

Other new Zoom features: live stream to Twitch directly, share audio with all breakout rooms, updates to Zoom Events, and video messaging in Zoom Chat.


All the content on the web has to live on a physical server somewhere. If the servers are destroyed, the content may be lost. The Internet Archive is working with Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online and other organizations to help preserve Ukrainian digital content from museums, libraries, and more.

Science journal Nature looks at how hybrid working has (surprisingly) taken hold in science research labs.

Giga Manga lets you create your own manga-style drawings with the help of machine learning. This is part of Manga Out of the Box, a collaboration between the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; a number of other Japanese cultural organizations and Google Arts & Culture.

That’s all the updates for this week. Subscribe to get the Weekly Update in your email inbox or favorite feed reader every week. Miss last week’s update? Get it here.