Messaging Apps Offer Do-It-All Services in Bid for Higher Profits

26 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg kicked off the social networking giant’s annual F8 developer conference in San Francisco Wednesday with a keynote address that included a string of numbers touting the size of Facebook’s network of developers.

Facebook wants to make the 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 content, with ESPN and JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot among its nearly 50 partners.At the beginning of his keynote at F8, Mark Zuckerberg gave a preview of something he described as futuristic, before demonstrating the first instance of virtual reality being used on Facebook.In addition to simple texting, calling and money transfers, Messenger can now turn text into songs, make it easier to find and share animated images, and provide new tools to jazz up photos, video and text.

Zuckerberg also noted that Facebook has worked diligently to monitor the permissions process to ensure that developers aren’t asking for more permissions than necessary when users log in through Facebook. 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. The above video was shown on-stage, before the “VR/AR” section of the far-right was shown as an interactive video that the user could move using commands – be it from a mouse, or an Oculus Rift VR headset – creating the sensation a wearer is at the location they are exploring in the video.

And Messenger users will soon be able to place and track online retail orders — another reason for people to shift from email to Facebook, the company hopes. And Facebook has — finally — introduced an embeddable video player, similar to YouTube, which lets users easily share videos posted on the social service to other websites.

Facebook also said it will support 360-degree videos, a virtual-reality format enabled by Oculus VR, the startup it acquired last year in a $2 billion deal. Facebook used the rest of the keynote address to reveal its new Messenger platform, which will support third-party apps, while also announcing that Facebook videos are now embeddable on other websites. David Marcus, Facebook’s vice president of messaging products, called it the first step toward “reinventing” how people and businesses interact. Marcus said 40 content-based apps are expected to connect to Messenger in the coming days, including Bitmoji, Dubsmash, Stacheify, JibJab and Giphy that help users find or edit photos and videos. Called Ditty, the app lets users type up to a 70-character message, which is then sung by a computer-generated voice to the tune of a user-selected song while the lyrics appear in an animated video.

Zya decided to start making Ditty last summer with the idea of letting more people experience “the thrill of creating music,” said Zya product evangelist Dylan Stevenson. Ditty launched in the Apple and Google Play app stores Wednesday with 10 free songs, including some nursery rhymes, and 16 tunes that costs 99 cents apiece. The paid choices include pop hits “Counting Stars” and “Chandelier” and classics like “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”

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