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BIGO’s Likee Increases Focus on MENA Region

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Likee has strengthened its focus on the Middle East and North Africa region, in response to a significant rise in user numbers. Offering short-form videos – recorded and live-streamed – Likee is at the forefront of a revolution in how people consume and interact with content. Likee is committed to creating a relevant environment and experience for regional users, backed by the advanced Artificial Intelligence-driven content curation and quality control technology from BIGO.

Launched in 2017, Likee has grown dramatically. In fact, according to the recently launched earnings report by parent company JOYY, Likee’s total Monthly Average Users (MAUs) has swelled to 115.3 million. In addition, in 2019 Likee was also recognized as being the seventh most downloaded application in the world, and ranked first in the ‘Top 10 Breakout Apps’ list, according to App Annie, the app industry watcher. This growth has continued into 2020, with industry analyst Sensor Tower ranking Likee as the fourth most popular application in the world in January 2020.

Mike Ong, Vice President, BIGO Technology, said: “Our continued expansion and refinement of content has enabled us to achieve a 208.3% increase of MAUs on a yearly basis and 15.1% on a sequential basis. The MENA region is a key focus for us as a company, and our platforms are well-received among the youthful, tech-savvy, and globally-connected regional community. We are at the forefront of a revolution in content creation and consumption, and we are proud to bring our users a way to express their individuality and talents, showcase their unique cultures, and engage with a like-minded global network.”

Likee’s growing popularity can be tied to the rise in preference for short-form video as a way to consume content and interact with a diverse, dispersed network. The platform also offers a number of features that allows users to customize their videos, including templates for backgrounds and effects, age progression, morphing and swapping, and converting to comic. Advanced capabilities include the ability to edit make-up and hair colour, image and video filters, and there is significant investment in innovation to continuously add to the user experience.

Fully committed to a safe and enjoyable for all users, across age-groups, Likee has incorporated strong measures for user privacy and parental control. These features enable a more curated experience in content consumption, content creation, and interactivity. These controls will specify the categories allowed by automated recommendations, make all videos private, and disable livestreams, comments, private messages, and more.

With the hashtag feature, Likee is also a platform for brands to get active in engaging their audiences. Likee has already seen celebrities getting active for promoting movies, community initiatives such as #LikeeDreams, and even initiatives to promote fitness such as #1KM1DAY, which encouraged and educated users to be more active. In India, Likee earned its way into the Guinness Book of World Records with its #IAmIndian campaign, for the largest online video album of people waving a flag.

“We believe that the high smartphone and Internet penetration in the MENA region is dramatically altering how digital natives and adopters use video as a communications tool. Likee is also breaking news grounds in digital innovation, including being used for education. Our #LikeeDreams campaign has highlighted the potential for Likee to drive socio-economic progress within communities and nations, and we look forward to being a part of the digital transformation narrative of the MENA region,” Ong added.

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WhatsApp Now Transcribes Voice Messages on Android

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Calling all Android users who dread lengthy voice messages: rejoice! WhatsApp is rolling out voice message transcription to its beta app.

This feature, already available for iOS users since May 2024, is now part of the WhatsApp Beta version 2.24.15.5 for Android. It automatically converts voice messages into text, making it easier and faster to understand conversations.

Currently, transcriptions are supported in five languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, and Hindi, with more languages promised in the future. Users opting in will need to download an additional data package to ensure all transcripts are generated directly on their devices, maintaining message privacy.

This update brings Android users closer to iOS users in terms of features and highlights WhatsApp’s commitment to improving the overall user experience.

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WhatsApp Trials AI Image Generator

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Calling all creative minds! WhatsApp is testing a new feature that uses AI to generate personalized avatars. Imagine yourself as a superhero, chilling on a beach, or even exploring space – the possibilities are endless! WABetaInfo discovered this feature in the latest Android beta update.

Here’s the tech behind the magic: a combo of user images, text descriptions, and Meta’s powerful AI, Llama. “Take photos of yourself once, then imagine yourself in any setting from the forest to outer space,” reads the screenshot on WhatsApp. The way it works is in the Meta AI Chat: users can type “Imagine in…” or “@Meta AI imagine me…” as a text prompt. A user’s likeness will then be used to generate the personalized image.

While there’s no official release date yet, this exciting feature is entirely optional. It joins the recently launched in-app custom sticker maker, showcasing WhatsApp’s commitment to fostering creativity within the app. This, alongside their ongoing development of AI chat functionalities, highlights Meta’s focus on making WhatsApp a platform that embraces both technological innovation and user expression.

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YouTube’s New Eraser Tool Now Removes Songs Without Ruining Your Videos

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Good news for creators! YouTube has rolled out a major update to its eraser tool, allowing them to effortlessly remove copyrighted music from their videos without sacrificing other audio elements like dialogue or sound effects.

In a recent video, YouTube acknowledged that the previous version of the tool needed improvement in terms of accuracy. This new iteration addresses that concern by utilizing an AI-powered algorithm that precisely detects and removes unwanted songs while leaving the rest of the audio intact.

However, YouTube’s support page advises creators that the algorithm might not always achieve perfect separation. As an alternative, creators can opt to “Mute all sound in the claimed segments,” effectively silencing any portions potentially containing copyrighted material.

Once the edit is finalized, YouTube automatically removes the content ID claim, a system designed to identify the use of copyrighted material within videos on the platform. This allows creators to proceed with their uploads without copyright concerns.

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