Apple introduced Live Photos with iPhone 6s. Even though they were not the first ones to bring a concept like Live Photos as both, HTC and Lumia devices had done something very similar, you always knew that the entire thing will get commercialised and popular once Apple decided to bring it. A lot of people are wrongly crediting Apple for inventing Live Photos when in reality they just made it the most popular new jing bang in the world of technology.
It’s the end of the year and that means that it is time for yearly reviews. Don’t be surprised if you see plenty of social media networks bring about a review with them, but the trend setters in this case, was definitely Facebook. We have seen facebook end of the year reviews for a while now and with the growing popularity of the medium, people have actually started associating these features with them and now keenly await them to come along. This year, like most of them before it, Facebook would be bringing an year end review but with a change.
Facebook in its newest avatar is building an ecosystem of applications that basically use your Facebook profile to deliver different services. In order to take this services initiative further, Facebook looks set to be launching a news application that would basically send you alerts for your selected subjects. The application is still very much in Alpha stage and is being tested and developed. The application will have character limits very similar to the way things are done on Twitter so that you are not served huge gamuts of data just via broadcast.
For the start, the application will sees elected publishers tie up, which will result in broadcast update being pushed on to the screens of everyone who is subscribed to the particular channel. The publisher can choose the call to action on the same as well as if he is pushing the broadcast only to the subscribers to the genre of subscribers too. The call to action primarily would be taking the user to his website, though the publisher can obviously change this and maybe redirect to a Youtube video of the story.
There is no other action that the user can perform other than either dismissing the broadcast or simply clicking on the call to action button. With no cross talks or comments, it would be interesting to see how well the application functions and what are the features that get added on. It is a possibility that somewhere down the line, the app could bring the likes of pages on board who will also be able to broadcast messages.
Facebook has been pretty adamant that Facebook Messenger is an independent service when compared to facebook. That is why, Messenger is being treated as a platform more than anything else post the announcement at F8. Since then several apps have come up which have used Messenger as a platform and while Facebook looks to create it as an independent entity, it is looking to totally cut any common chords that the app would have even with the parent that is Facebook. It does look like the kid has finally grown up enough to go its own route, as starting today, you will be able to sign up for Facebook Messenger without the need of a Facebook account or an E-Mail ID.
You simply will be needing your mobile number to use Messenger, a bit like how it is done on Whatsapp. You will obviously not be able to sync your Facebook contacts and their pictures unless you connect your Facebook account, but will be able to connect to the people who are on your phonebook. Facebook said the following in their blog post:
With Messenger, we’ve been focused on creating the best messaging experience possible by giving people a fun and easy way to connect and express themselves with friends and contacts. If you’re in Canada, the United States, Peru or Venezuela, we are starting to roll out a new way for you to sign up for Messenger – without a Facebook account
Currently, only users from US, Canada, Venezuela and Peru will be able to use the feature which will come, both to Android as well as iOS.
Facebook has been pretty aggressively pushing its Messenger application in the past year or so. First it moved the messenger services out of its mobile application, making it absolutely must for anyone who wants to privately talk to someone to use the messenger application. Post that at F8, Facebook announced that it would be treating the Messenger as a platform so that developer community can come together and start developing applications upon it to make the whole platform a little more robust as well as interesting to communicate.
The latest in the line of Messenger add ons is a messenger app for the web. This is first of its kind move, with Facebook bringing the messenger service directly to your browser at messenger.com. You can simply go to the URL and if you are connected or logged in to your Facebook account, you would directly be taken to your inbox and you can directly start IM’ing your friends from there.
The UI is very similar to the Messenger application as seen on the mobile while you also get the option to activate notifications for your desktop, so that you do not miss out on a new notification while lost within the tabs of your browser. You can send across emojis, stickers and everything else that you could on the messenger application on mobile. The only missing feature here is the ability to send audio notes as well as the ability to take live pictures using Web Cam.
Facebook has been known to roll out experimental or new features gradually to users before a mass rollout to everyone. We saw that with the move to standalone messenger app as well as the stickers where the roll out was pretty limited to the privileged few. A new feature seems to be here once again and few people have already reported getting it.
The feature basically converts your voice messages in the form of a text message and writes it below the incoming voice sample. The reason for doing this is that in case somebody has sent you a voice message and you are in a public situation where you cannot listen to the voice message you can simply read the message and send across the message appropriately.
Given that Facebook has already rolled out this feature, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Whatsapp will bring something very similar in the upcoming days given that Voice Messaging is really popular over Whatsapp too. The feature is set to roll out to all the users of the messenger app in the form of OTA. It is also not clear how accurate and perfectly does this work given how much of an effort voice to text translation is currently.
Twitter, the famous microblogging website has been iterating its services to make it more interesting and fun to browse. Recently we saw the platform introduce the ability to embed soundtracks into the link as well as the ability to directly shop with an interesting integration with Amazon. Now, Twitter is enabling a feature called, ‘While you were Away’ to selective users whereby, if you do not browse the application or timeline on the web for a while, you will see a curated list of tweets which will give you a quick snap of everything important that transpired on the timeline.
This feature is very similar to the News Feed that we have seen on the likes of Facebook already as only selected tweets from select users will be shown and not all. It is still not clear what will propel the selection of the highlights on your timeline, but you would believe it would be the tweets with maximum engagement of the users you interact the most with, which would feature.
Twitter has only rolled the feature out to select few users for now and it is expected the same would be out in the form of an app update as well as for the users who browse Twitter on the web soon.
In an attempt to make the Facebook timeline more and more relevant to the users, Facebook has announced that, from the turn of the year, it would be making overly pushy and promotional content, less visible on the timelines. This comes as a big shock to those pages, who try to push promotional content for their applications or even websites via their pages.
Facebook could also be doing this to get away from the freebies, so that in case you want to promote content, you are forced to use the promoted tools such as newsfeed ads or sponsored stories, instead of trying to do it organically. Facebook has announced these changes, via a blog post, saying that it is doing it to keep the content clean and make sure the timeline is kept as relevant as ever.
A part of the blog post has explained, exactly what the change is:
Beginning in January 2015, people will see less of this type of content in their News Feeds. As we’ve said before, News Feed is already a competitive place – as more people and Pages are posting content, competition to appear in News Feed has increased. All of this means that Pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.
This change will not increase the number of ads people see in their News Feeds. The idea is to increase the relevance and quality of the overall stories – including Page posts – people see in their News Feeds. This change is about giving people the best Facebook experience possible and being responsive to what they have told us.
Via: Facebook Blog
Facebook has been vocal about supporting its app business. if you look around you will see a fair few Facebook owned apps, most notably, the Social Media App, Pages, Paper, Instagram, Messenger etc. However, one thing common about all these applications is that you need to be logged in from your Facebook account as yourself and just about everyone who interacts with you does so by your own identity. But what if you wanted to chat or speak to people hiding your identity yet use your Facebook credentials to log in? Looks like, this is the exact use case that Facebook would be focussing upon next as it is about to bring a new Anonymous Chat Application.
Applications such as Whisper or Secret have gained a lot of popularity in the past with people using them to express their views under the veil of anonymity. This is seems to be the thought behind the new anonymous chat application. New York Times has reported an insider who has more information on this, saying:
The project is being led by Josh Miller, a product manager at Facebook who joined the company when it acquired Branch, his start-up which focused on products that fostered small, online discussion groups. Mr. Miller and the rest of his team have been working on the product in its different forms for the last year, said the people briefed on the plans.
The application, according to the same report is expected to be rolled out within the next few weeks and would be available on iOS first and Android later if the likes of Slingshot are to go by.
I would be the first to admit that I use Facebook as an RSS reader more than as a tool to connect to friends. In fact, for the past 2 months, I have virtually unfollowed every single friend on my Facebook feed which makes sure my feed is a constant fill from the content from sites or publications that I would be interested in reading. Given how important the social media audience is for all the major publishers, it is no surprise that the article is immediately shared on the Facebook page of these publishers.
But what if you are in a hurry and would like to read a particular post later on? Unfortunately, there is no integration of Pocket or Instapaper with Facebook yet. However, to help and solve this issue, Facebook has added a save feature that lets you bookmark the post for reading them later. All you need to do is when you are scrolling through the feed click on the arrow that is on the top right of the Facebook post and click on the option that says ‘Save…..followed by the article name’. The moment you do that, you will see the article will be saved in the ‘Saved’ section that would be visible on the left pane of your newsfeed.
Whenever you get the time, simply click on it and you can read the article that you have saved. This is a really good implementation by Facebook, but still means we have to go back and forth between FB and our Pocket account. We hope that Facebook would bring Pocket on board officially soon. The same feature is also available on Facebook mobile apps, both on Android and Twitter.