How Facebook is doubling down on mobile

26 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Finds Strength As A Family, Not An App.

SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook continues to perfect its walled-garden experience and is now offering developers the chance to build apps that link directly with its Messenger chat option, along with a version aimed at business users.Facebook Inc’s Messenger app is evolving into a multitasking tool equipped to send an animated fist bump to a friend at one moment and then get a little business done in the next.

By the end of April, Facebook Messenger will also be adding the ability to display store receipts and shipping information to help consumers keep track. People will also have the option to ask a business questions, make requests and get quick responses.” This back and forth will all be presented in the common Messenger way, which is as a single ongoing tedious stream of blah communications thread between parties. µ Of Facebook’s products. “Facebook used to be this one blue app on your phone, and now Facebook is a family of apps” said its CEO as he showed off the user counts of the different family members.

The push to diversify Messenger came as younger people are increasingly using a wide range of mobile messaging apps to communicate, while spending less time broadcasting their activities on Facebook’s more expansive social network. But as WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram continue to grow, with monthly active user numbers swelling to 700 million, 600 million, and 300 million respectively, Facebook has proved that naysayers know nothing about what people want from the apps they use every day. Here’s our latest rundown of the themes we’ll be discussing at the summit, which features fireside talks, keynotes, networking time, and small roundtable discussions in the beautiful atmosphere of the Cavallo Point Resort in Sausalito, Calif., on May 5 and May 6.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg touted the Messenger expansion on Wednesday to about 2,000 app developers at the opening of a two-day conference in San Francisco. Interactive Entertainment; Peter Levin, the president of interactive media and games at Lionsgate; John Riccitiello, CEO of Unity Technologies; Jeff Lyndon, cofounder and president of iDreamsky Technology; Yoichi Wada, CEO of Shinra Technologies; Jacob Navok, senior vice president of Shinra Technologies; and Misha Lyalin, chief executive of Cut the Rope creator ZeptoLab.

Facebook’s revenue last year surged 58 percent to US$12.5 billion, a performance that has enabled the company’s stock price to more than double from its initial public offering price of US$38 in 2012. The hard stuff is handled. “We looked at it as a model for success,” Acton said. “We were able to have the confidence that our partnership with Facebook would work well. We had an alignment of mission in terms of connecting the world’s population.” (Left to right) Moderator Mary Meeker, of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, with Brian Acton, cofounder of WhatsApp; Mike Krieger, cofounder and technical lead of Instagram; and David Marcus, VP of messaging at Facebook. That threat is propelling Messenger’s expansion and also prompted Zuckerberg to spend US$22 billion last year to buy WhatsApp, another mobile messaging service that has more than 700 million users. A large segment of WhatsApp’s audience is located in less affluent countries outside the US and western Europe, making it more likely that it will not be adding as many new tools as Messenger has, said David Marcus, who oversees Facebook’s messaging products.

So WhatsApp isn’t concerned with Messenger’s forays into payments and platform. “We continue to develop our products independently,” Acton said. “Platform is not top of mind for us. 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. But when you’re talking about trying to connect every human on earth, a singularly focused app alone can’t possibly meet the diverse needs of a diverse population. Analysts widely expect Facebook to begin showing ads with Messenger as people spend more time in the app to do different things, though the company has not revealed plans to turn the app into a marketing vehicle.

We share ideas, technologies, and infrastructure, but there’s no strong competition.” Is it possible that Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp will eventually become a communication monolith, a feature-loaded app that lets you message friends, make restaurant reservations, and pay your rent without ever leaving Facebook? Zuckerberg explained “We’re building this family so we can offer unique, world-class experiences for every way that people want to share.” Facebook was built as a website, not an app.

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. 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. In his presentation, Zuckerberg predicted messaging apps eventually will include virtual-reality technology, something that Facebook acquired last year when it bought Oculus VR Inc for US$2 billion. Facebook was often criticized for cramming too many features into the big blue app, and so it started spinning off new ideas (and a few old ones) into stand-alone apps.

If people didn’t want to read links or deal with the personal drama of status updates on Facebook, they could just let the pretty pictures flow over their eyes. Discovery is in Messenger but the content you share on Messenger isn’t created in the app.” And developers aren’t too happy about it, but WhatsApp’s mission to make its app stable for every mobile platform around the world is keeping the company from releasing an API. As mobile became the dominant way people connected, Facebook saw that its messaging system’s growth was hampered by keeping it buried inside the main app. There was some groaning in the crowd, but Acton stood his ground. “We want to be careful about inundating people with messages they don’t want,” Acton said. “I receive emails from people on a routine basis who want to run their business with WhatsApp as the backbone of communication. 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.

How are various studios reaching the balance right for them in budget, manpower and resources between creating the game itself and integrating the supporting infrastructure of services? Distribution platforms, from mobile app stores to Steam, have accelerated the growth of the entire market and provide global exposure to any developer.

If competitors controlled the top photo sharing or messaging app, they could use those as a wedge to pry themselves into Facebook’s core social networking ad business. It knew people wanted a wider variety of things to do on Facebook, from using utilities to playing games, but it didn’t have the time, resources, or know how to create them all in-house.

Celebrities, movie studios, and other franchises owners are rushing into the market to license their IP and profit from the now ripe mobile gaming market. While top brands are able to design their own games, most decide to offer relevant rewards within games, or engage in natural interactions the same way they are adopting instant messaging marketing. It’s extending what counts as family by inviting over 40 developers to build companion apps for creating and discovering content to be shared through Messenger. The best monetization strategies mix advertising and in-app purchases across elaborate audience segments and a commitment to agile and consistent optimization guarantees maximized returns to the publishers.

As Zuckerberg noted “People need to be able to share what matters to them with all the different groups of people they care about this is how we give people the power to make the world more open and connected.” It’s an approach similar to the monolithic chat apps of Asia, like WeChat and Line. But as it increases its mindshare in mainstream culture, it also has to reconcile “hardcore” gamers with the more casual population playing on mobile and adapt to wider and more diverse demographics. And if these apps don’t see business advantages from being a Messenger companion, like getting downloads of their main apps, they might not bother to build or maintain another set of code. Smart monetization strategies have turned the most successful studios into powerhouses in their own rights, attracting the attention of the traditional entertainment industry, consumer brands, and overseas giants.

When I asked how Messenger will make developers feel valued during Messenger head David Marcus’ F8 panel Q&A, he insisted “The beauty of the platform is that developers get attribution. If your friends are using apps and sharing content with you, you’re able to download the app and share with more friends.” But the sour taste of unreliability is hard to wash out of developers’ mouths, and some virality now might not be enough. If the audience gets burned by spam, outdated functionality, or annoying marketing posts, there won’t be anyone left to use Facebook’s partner apps in the future. But it’s entering a new life phase with new responsibilities, and it will have to balance its affection for users, advertisers, developers, and its own bottom line.

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Facebook Video Swaps Flash for HTML5

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook abandons Flash video.

“From development velocity to accessibility features, HTML5 offers a lot of benefits. Facebook has stopped using Adobe Flash technology to show videos across the social network, instead moving its support to the now widely used HTML5 technology. Moving to HTML5 best enables us to continue to innovate quickly and at scale, given Facebook’s large size and complex needs,” said the firm’s front-end engineer Daniel Baulig. “We are continuing to work together with Adobe to deliver a reliable and secure Flash experience for games on our platform, but have shipped the change for video to all browsers by default.” The move will come as quite a blow for Adobe’s Flash platform, which has been used online for over 10 years. Adobe’s Flash has been gradually phased out by many websites as a means of playing videos – with many seeing it as a security issue as bugs within the software have been exploited by cyber criminals in the past.

Flash Player, either as an app or plug-in for the browser, became an essential installation for anyone who wanted to see multimedia content or watch video online, but the need for it is slowly fading and Facebook’s decision to change could be the final nail in the coffin. In a damning indictment of the much maligned Flash, Daniel Baulig, engineer at Facebook, said: “Not only did launching the HTML5 video player make development easier, but it also improved the video experience for people on Facebook.

Google stopped supporting Flash in its Chrome browser earlier this year, while Amazon recently declared a ban on Flash in advertising content on its site. Daniel Baulig, a front-end developer at Facebook, said the switch to HTML5 had helped the social media giant speed up the development of its video-handling system.

People like, comment and share more on videos after the switch, and users have been reporting fewer bugs,” Baulig added. “People appear to be spending more time with video because of it. Like Microsoft with Windows XP, Adobe has been trying to migrate companies away from using its own tools while putting out fires left, right and centre.

For Facebook users it will be business as usual, for the most part, just a little faster and without having to worry about vulnerabilities in an ageing outdated video system.

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