Facebook opens up Messenger to apps

25 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Opens Messenger App to Media Partners, Including JJ Abrams.

Facebook wants to make its Messenger instant-messaging service — which it claims now has more than 600 million monthly active users worldwide — into a media platform encompassing video and other media, with nearly 50 partners. Facebook holds its almost-annual F8 conference for some 2,500 software developers Wednesday and Thursday in San Francisco, and this one looks to debut more new products and services than it has in a long time. The upgraded Facebook Messenger app will add a wider range of video, voice and location-sharing capabilities, the company announced at its F8 developers’ conference Wednesday. “We think this service has the potential to let people express themselves in new ways,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. Top-of-mind topics for his audience include everything from mobile-ad tools to Facebook’s ambitions in virtual reality, as enabled by the company’s Oculus Rift acquisition.

That’s for two reasons: For one, with the acquisitions in recent years of Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus, among others, Facebook simply has a lot more products and services–or platforms, to use the customary software jargon–on which to build. The social network (and doesn’t that term sound way too limited by now?) has essentially promised each of its major services will have something new to offer. Zuckerberg welcomes 3,000 developers, declaring that the new F8 is about “bringing our whole community together,” with a focus on helping developers, rather than touting specific new product rollouts. It already appears to have leaked hints of a couple of announcements involving software development for the Internet of Things and possibly the Oculus virtual-reality system. Among other partnerships, Facebook’s Messenger will show users the best sports moments of the day, said David Marcus, Facebook VP of messaging products.

He notes that Facebook last year changed its mantra from “Move fast and break things,” to a new one emphasizing stability. “We had an internal goal to reduce the number of bugs by 66%, and we hit that.” New goal: “Reduce small bugs by 90% and fix them within 48 hours. That gives Facebook access to more data and even bigger audiences, creating a positive feedback loop that cements its increasing hold on online activities of all kinds. Facebook will soon be supporting these so-called spherical videos in the network’s News Feed. “We’re going to build spherical videos to Oculus too,” Zuck says. “We’re starting to see traditional video blend with even more immersive content.” We’re talking about new types of video now, like spherical, 360-degree views of real environments.

Think an eagle-eye view of Google Street Maps. “In order to keep up with this future … we need to be able to build tools for people to share all the different types of content they’re sharing,” Zuck says. “We’ve already heard of thousands of developers that want to join,” Zuck says. Zuckerberg is touching on ThreatExchange, Facebook’s new data-sharing social network for businesses to share information about hacks, similar to the US government’s new cybersecurity initiative announced earlier this year.

Instagram: 300 million users/month. “This family is going to keep on growing.” “The content that people want to share is changing, too.” Tech provides tools for richer sharing. Facebook is making a new commitment to fix all major bug fixes with 48 hours, reiterating its “important theme of stability” that it established at last year’s conference, says Zuckerberg. Mobile advertising represented nearly two-thirds of the company’s $3.85 billion in revenue during its fourth quarter, up from about half the same time a year ago. Messenger already accounts for more than 10% of mobile voice-over-IP calling worldwide. “Today, we’re going to talk about the next step in our messenger strategy.

It’s a new platform that developers can use.” (Whoops of joy from the audience.) He shows a JibJab video clip of an awkwardly animated version of himself, playing a guitar as explosions go off in the background. 10:23 a.m. They’ve changed the nature of Facebook’s business. (Heck, they’ve turned Apple into the world’s most highly valued company) So what’s going on at Facebook right now? No need to call businesses. “Right after you purchase something online, if you want to change your order, you can do it via Messenger.” He says this “will improve almost every person’s life.” No explicit mention of the revenue/profit potential for this enhancement, but it’s bound to be delicious for Facebook. 10:26 a.m. A couple things that can be done on it: First is giving people more tools for expression, by expanding the options of sharing content from other apps. Nearly 900 million people — or roughly 1 out of every 7 people in the world — use the service each day, making it among the most powerful companies on the Web.

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