How Facebook Messenger will help you discover new apps

26 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

Facebook announced a series of features and updates at its annual F8 Developer Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, and while the news is mostly targeted for developers and app designers right now, it could eventually mean big things for Facebook users.

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. Just revealed: Parse for IoT [Internet of Things], Messenger as a Platform, and the Teleportation Station.” At the same event, Facebook also revealed a new realtime comments system along with the ability to embed Facebook videos on other sites. Perhaps the biggest update unveiled during Zuckerberg’s keynote is that Facebook Messenger — the social network’s chatting tool — is becoming a massive communications hub, where users will be able to do much more than chat with others via the service.

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. The social network will also allow developers to find out who is using their apps, whether most of their games are played by a male or female, are these gamers teenagers and so on.

Messenger chats between customers and shops are meant to provide conversation-thread context to buying things; tracking shipments, and handling customer concerns. But with the new Messenger Platform announced Wednesday at Facebook’s annual F8 developers conference, you can send any content created within an app integrated with Messenger to your friends without leaving Messenger.

A noteworthy feature of the growing platform is Messenger Business, which will allow users to communicate with merchants by sending them a direct message or making a reservation and checking shipping information. While the spherical video doesn’t really make much difference on your flat screen monitor, watching it using the VR headset will ensure a 360 degrees spherical video feel as if you are right there.

These are apps that I wouldn’t think to use every day, but if they’re easily accessible when I’m sending messages—a context where GIFs, song clips, memes, and funny videos make the most sense—then I’d be more apt to dig into them more. In mid-2014, Facebook acquired video advertising firm LiveRail to make video ads a bigger part of its business, and now the company has started implementing it. More apps are coming on board soon, according to Backchannel, including one from L’Oreal that would let you give your photo a virtual makeover and share the image with friends for their critique. Right now, Facebook’s algorithms prioritise videos in your newsfeed over text and picture posts, so users are more likely to like, comment and share videos for more people to watch.

And if your friend sends you a cute GIF or meme, you can install the app she used to make it from right inside Messenger, instead of having to reply, “How did you do that?!” “There’s a lot of competition and a large barrier for me to decide I want to use an app over and over again,” Facebook product manager Lexy Franklin said during a Messenger Platform session at F8. “It’s so easy for me to reply with any piece of content with the content itself. The company introduced a new Analytics for Apps tool that provides a dashboard of data so developers and marketers can better understand their audience. 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. Outside of its core services, Facebook owns the future of how we will play video games and watch movies with Oculus, it owns all our pictures with Instagram and even supplies the third-world with internet.

When I recently spoke with Facetune cofounder Itai Tsiddon, he told me that Facebook’s app install ads were a significant driver of growth—in fact, Facebook uses Facetune as a case study for how install ads can immediately boost an app’s popularity. 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).

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