Everything you need to know about the changes coming to Facebook

26 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Everything you need to know about the changes coming to Facebook.

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Messenger Platform, describing it as a way for software developers to boost appeal to the more than 600 million people using the application. “We think this service has the potential to allow people to express themselves in new ways … and to be an important communication tool for the world,” Zuckerberg said as he kicked off the California-based company’s annual developers conference in San Francisco. Facebook announced its latest plan to make its Messenger app more attractive, this time with a little help from third-party app makers including two Canadian companies.

Facebook executives introduced more than 25 products and tools tailored to help developers “build, grow, and monetise” mobile applications aimed at the social network’s audience of approximately 1.39 billion people. Now, instead of plain text, simple images and links, users will be able to easily install and share content from a variety of rich-media services that feature content such as GIFs, videos and sound. “For developers, the platform provides a way to reach the [interconnected users] inside of messaging,” Bitstrips founder and CEO Jacob Blackstock said. By the end of April, Messenger will also be adding the ability to display store receipts and shipping information to help consumers keep track of their interactions with merchants and other businesses. On Wednesday, Facebook announced it was launching “Businesses on Messenger,” a set of new services that will allow companies to interact individually with customers through Facebook’s messenger app.

The move comes less than two weeks after YouTube begin supporting a similar video functionality, which allows users to see different vantage points on a video. The changes underscore Facebook’s vision for Messenger as a new communication tool that complements the social network and ramps up efforts to compete with rivals like Snapchat, which is adding media partners to its messaging app.

His company will launch its Bitmoji personalized cartoon app with Messenger. “There’s huge opportunity for innovation and access to millions of potential new users around the world.” Keek, a Toronto social-media service with 74 million users built around sharing 36-second videos, could use the boost of getting first crack at Messenger’s 600 million users. Part of a larger rollout of the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social network’s new platform strategy, Businesses on Messenger will potentially allow for a consumer to receive order notifications via instant message, or–even better–buy items directly through the messenger app. One of the Messenger upgrades was designed to build on Facebook’s move into e-commerce by weaving chat threads into purchases at websites, essentially turning formerly impersonal internet shopping into ongoing text message conversations. “We’re making Messenger a place where you can easily communicate with the businesses you care about in addition to the people you care about,” Zuckerberg said.

Although the company resides in the much-hyped social-media space, Keek has languished in relative obscurity while its peers ascended to tech stardom. “They’ve had quite a lot of positive news flow, signing partnerships, bringing key people to the management team and the market has just yawned. Though it’s still early days, Facebook’s integration of business into Messenger could be the company’s ticket into the wider world of online retail. Facebook appears well aware of our coming shift away from “flat videos,” and is getting ahead of the trend. “If you look back at Facebook five years ago, most of the content that people shared was text, status updates and wall posts,” Zuckerberg said in his keynote address. “Now today it’s photos, and other visual content.

The push to plant more features in Messenger underscores the growing importance of apps that enable more intimate and direct conversations than social networks. Marcus then showed how he could buy a shirt from retailer Everlane, Facebook’s second retail partner on this effort, receive a confirmation and even modify his order, all within Messenger. Even most Canadian funds have turned their backs on the Venture and Keek’s valuation has suffered as a result of the malaise in Canadian small caps, Mr. Younger people, in particular, are increasingly using a wide range of mobile messaging apps to communicate with different circles of friends, while spending less time broadcasting their activities on Facebook’s more expansive social network. And if you look out even further beyond that it’s probably going to be even more immersive content like [virtual reality and augmented reality].” “We’re at this interesting transition,” Zuckerberg said Wednesday. “We’re starting to see traditional video blend with even more immersive content.

According to sources, Facebook will not take any cut or receive any referral fees for transactions made through messenger and the service will be completely free for businesses for now. Prior to Wednesday’s announcement, Keek had a market capitalization of about $8.1-million (U.S.) – a paltry sum compared with the kind of money attracted by comparable U.S. companies.

Founded in 2011 by serial entrepreneur Isaac Raichyk, who left the company in 2013 after the startup hit a serious cash crunch, Keek was rescued through a reverse takeover by Canadian junior oil and gas firm Primary Petroleum in 2014. In an age where the buzzphrase of “online-to-offline” has business owners scrambling to try any app or service that will bring them more customers, the Messenger integration could be a boon. It’s not crazy to expect that one day instead of flipping through photos of a friends’ safari on Facebook, you’ll strap on a virtual-reality headset, look to your left and get chills because you’re staring at a lion. Facebook’s revenue last year surged 58 percent to $12.5 billion, a performance that has enabled the company’s stock price to more than double from its initial public offering price of $38 in 2012. Facebook certainly has the users and as it unrolls its recently announced peer-to-peer payments service, it will soon have a valuable repository of payment credentials.

But as much as Keek and others stand to benefit from partnering with Facebook, the social-media giant needs a richer app marketplace to compete in messaging markets dominated by China’s WeChat or Japan’s Line. That scenario is a long way off (Facebook’s payment service will strictly be person-to-person as it rolls out in the U.S.), but it’s fun to consider and as Facebook spreads its tentacles into a new area, potential rivals like Yelp and Amazon.com are no doubt paying attention.

That threat is propelling Messenger’s expansion and also prompted Zuckerberg to spend $22 billion last year to buy WhatsApp, another mobile messaging service that has more than 700 million users. Mark Zuckerberg may soon be able buy all the gray hoodies his heart desires through his own service as the world’s social network transforms into its next commerce network.

A large segment of WhatsApp’s audience is located in less affluent countries outside the U.S. and western Europe, making it more likely that it won’t be adding as many new tools as Messenger has, said David Marcus, who oversees Facebook’s messaging products. Most Messenger apps are installed on iPhones and top-of-the-line Android phones, which provide the processing power needed to handle a range of multipurpose tools.

Facebook introduced a software developer kit (SDK) to support the growing influx of web-connected devices for the home, like smart garage door openers and refrigerators. The decision to allow outside applications to operate within Messenger mirrors a pivotal decision that Zuckerberg made eight years ago when he opened Facebook to other programmers. Marcus, who formerly ran PayPal, is hoping Messenger will follow a similar pattern now that it is operating as an open platform. “We have opened the floodgates,” he said. Facebook is counting on apps from other developers to enable Messenger users to express their feelings with GIFs, audio clips and other dynamic formats that “will bring a smile to people’s faces,” Marcus said.

They collect data about your usage patterns and habits, and typically connect to an app that offers feedback to improve your lifestyle (or your racquet swing, for example). In his presentation, Zuckerberg predicted messaging apps eventually will include virtual-reality technology, something that Facebook acquired last year when it bought Oculus for $2 billion.

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