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Facebook launches a new distinctive feature for contacting government representatives

Facebook announced that it was rolling out a new feature called "Town Hall," which would allow the social network users to easily locate, follow and contact their local, state and federal government representatives. 

Indeed, The feature makes it simpler for users to know who represents them in government, and reach out through whichever means the politician lists on their Facebook page.


In the same context, The feature was recently made available in the “More” menu on mobile and on desktop to a subset of users.


When you start searching on it, you would be presented with a list of reps at the local, state and federal level, and you could click to visit their Facebook page or send them a message, call them, or email.


It's worth noting that Not all representatives offer their contact information via Facebook, however. And Facebook doesn’t yet pull in the missing phone numbers or emails from off-site sources, like official government websites, for example.


The changes follow Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recent penning of a several words manifesto where he discussed a number of ambitions for the social network in the month ahead. One of these was focused on the privacy of users and the mechanism of  using the network and "Town Hall" feature to increase civic engagement with more secure communications.

Today, "Town Hall" feature is available only to all U.S. Facebook users and some of its features will now be integrated in the News Feed.

Gmail can now stream video attachments on the desktop more easily

Google’s creating  a new advantage and making small but helpful change to desktop Gmail today that’ll be useful for anyone who sends or receives video attachments: from now on, you’ll be able to stream them on the page, rather than having to download the file first.

 Before today’s update, if you got an video attachment in an email sent to your Gmail account and wanted to watch it, you had to click on the video and have it download to your PC’s hard drive and view it with a separate media player. Now, today’s update eliminates the previous barriers. Today, you can  see a video attachment in an email, and also you will now see a thumbnail that, when you click it, automatically streams that video to you, without the need to download it or use a another player.

It's worth noting that this feature could be particularly helpful when sending small videos captured on your phone, as it’ll save recipients a step or two before watching them. But the feature is still limited by the fact that Gmail attachments can’t exceed 50MB (and only 25MB when sending), which means you’re on your own if you want to send something longer or in a particularly high resolution.

Google indicates that this Gmail desktop update for video uses the same infrastructure that is made for streaming  YouTube videos style, along with any video clips stored on Google Drive. While the update is rolling out desktop version users but may take up to 15 days for the new video streaming feature to go live to all Gmail desktop users.

YouTube’s automatic captioning system can now describe random sound effects

YouTube  which operates as one of Google's subsidiaries has long had an automatic captioning system that, thanks to Google’s machine learning advances in recent years, has gotten pretty good at automatically transcribing spoken words in a video. 

The massive digital company officially announced that this technology is now able to take this a step further by also captioning some of the ambient sounds like (laughter, applause, and music)

For now, the automatic effects captioning is certainly restricted to those exactly these three sounds. The reason for this, Google indicates that these are also exactly the sounds that most video producers manually caption right now because it concerned with the deaf people and people suffer in silence.

Facebook platform tests a GIF button for comments

Finally, Facebook is ready to carry out a new improvement in its service by providing the animated GIF on comments. Next week Facebook will begin testing a GIF button that lets users post GIFs from services like Giphy and Tenor as comments, a source told TechCrunch. 

“Everyone loves a good GIF and we know that people want to be able to use them in comments. So we’re about to start testing the ability to add GIFs to comments and we’ll share more when we can, but for now, we repeat that this is just a test.” said an official Facebook spokesman.


At the first point, this GIF comment button will only be available to a small and few percentages of Facebook users, but it could roll out to everyone if it proves popular. Indeed, It will work similarly to the GIF button in Facebook Messenger, allowing users to both browse trending GIFs and search for specific reactions in-line. 

It' worth mentioning that Facebook users still won’t have the ability to select and share GIFs as News Feed posts, but comment GIFs could lay the groundwork for that.

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