Before we put our feet up for the festive season, we recap some of the biggest digital news for December, including some social media revamps and an intelligent development for Bing.

Bing launches Intelligent Search featuring AI

Last week, Bing announced a number of new Intelligent Search features that will provide faster and more complete answers for search queries.

Intelligent Answers aim to respond to your specific search query through pulling the answers from multiple sources in order to provide you with an accurate and quick resolution. It will tell you the number of sources that it has used to find and collate the answer. If a question doesn’t have one simple answer, it will provide summaries from different sources, or will provide authoritative perspectives on a topic – such as benefits versus drawbacks. Other intelligent features include Intelligent Image Search and Conversational Search.

The changes aren’t disruptive, but they show that search evolution is accelerating – people are wanting answers quickly and don’t necessarily want to visit websites to get what they need.

Find out more about the changes and what they mean in this Search Engine Land article.

Snapchat redesigns it’s app to affect branded content

It’s no secret that Snapchat is starting to struggle, it’s seen user numbers stagnate and needs to prove it’s worth for business advertising.

So, this month it reinvented itself, announcing a design that will have a significant impact on branded content, separating it from content created by ‘real people’. Up till now, all content has been treated the same in one news feed – but now, you will swipe left to view friends content, and access professional stories on the right.

It remains to be seen how this will affect how people will engage with brand content. But you can read more about the changes on the Econsultancy blog.

WhatsApp start testing WhatsApp Business

Earlier this year, WhatsApp announced they were creating WhatsApp Business – a new platform that will allow businesses to start providing customer service over the instant messaging app – and now they have moved into the testing phase.

The app will provide an official and verified profile for the business, giving customers reassurance that they are dealing with the professional brand and a genuine customer service representative. It will have a free business app for small companies, building up to an enterprise solution for larger organisations.

Find out more about the business solution on the WhatsApp blog.

Instagram introduce the ability to subscribe to hashtags

Last week Instagram announced the ability to follow hashtags – giving you a new way of discovering photos and video content on the platform, exploring content relevant to you and your hobbies.

To follow a hashtag is similar to following a friend. Search for a topic you are interested in, or tap on a hashtag from a post. You will then see relevant hashtags displayed in your search results. When you find the hashtag you want, tap on the follow button. This will then mean you can start seeing hashtag posts in your news feed or in your stories bar.

It means your Instagram content should be seen by much bigger audiences! Find out more in the press release from Instagram.