Facebook Developing Chatbots for its Popular Messenger App

Facebook is working with more than 25 companies to help them use chatbots in Messenger to order goods and answer customer service questions, without human assistance. Among its new partners are Disney, eBay, JetBlue, and The Wall Street Journal, all of which are contributing to making the Messenger app a focal point for shopping, news and entertainment. Facebook owns two of the largest messaging apps, Messenger and WhatsApp; both are piloting programs to let businesses communicate with customers. Continue reading Facebook Developing Chatbots for its Popular Messenger App

Facebook Live Attracts Media Partners, Joins the ‘Today’ Show

Facebook Live, a pet project of chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and one of the company’s top priorities, is getting a big push. Posting video there now requires a Facebook app on a mobile device, but the Silicon Valley company also plans to introduce new features and partners in early April and at F8, Facebook’s developer conference. Facebook is also gaining traction with getting media companies and celebrities to participate, most recently on the “Today” show, which launched a Facebook Live video-streaming booth. Continue reading Facebook Live Attracts Media Partners, Joins the ‘Today’ Show

No Headset Needed to Watch 360-Degree Video via Facebook

Facebook has introduced a new technology that will someday allow Facebook users to explore immersive, 360-degree videos from their News Feeds. The company unveiled the technology at its annual F8 developer conference in San Francisco this week. The content is created with a 24-camera rig, and it can be viewed in a browser or a smartphone screen without a headset. Facebook envisions users will also use an Oculus Rift headset to view the 360-degree video in the future. Continue reading No Headset Needed to Watch 360-Degree Video via Facebook

Facebook Extending LiveRail to Display and Mobile Advertising

Last year, Facebook acquired LiveRail, a video ad technology that essentially serves as a platform for the automated sales of video ads for publishers. In a move to better contend with Google, Facebook is now looking to use LiveRail as a way to help publishers manage their ad inventory more effectively and make smarter sales across various platforms, including websites and mobile apps. The company has reportedly already partnered with Dailymotion, Univision and A+E Networks. Continue reading Facebook Extending LiveRail to Display and Mobile Advertising

Facebook Wants Developers to Integrate Apps with Messenger

At this week’s F8 developer conference in San Francisco, Facebook announced that it is opening up its Messenger app with a platform for creating apps. This will allow developers to build apps that can integrate with the social network’s instant-messaging service, which presently touts 600 million users. Nearly 50 integrated apps have been created under the program, including those from Bad Robot, ESPN and The Weather Channel. The service also supports 360-degree video with Facebook’s Oculus VR format. Continue reading Facebook Wants Developers to Integrate Apps with Messenger

F8: Facebook Introduces Ad Network, App Tools and New Motto

At Facebook’s F8 developer conference in San Francisco, CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Facebook’s newest projects that emphasize app development for third parties. The company’s motto “move fast and break things” has become less relevant as Facebook grows and third party apps rely increasingly on Facebook databases. The new ad network and app development tools will make it easier for third party app developers to create apps with Facebook functions. Continue reading F8: Facebook Introduces Ad Network, App Tools and New Motto

F8: Consumers Can Purchase Oculus Rift VR Headset in 2015

During Facebook’s F8 developer conference this week, an Oculus VR spokesperson said the company would likely release its Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets commercially next year. While there is no official word yet on a price tag or release date for the consumer version of Oculus Rift, the headset will require an ecosystem of games and entertainment. The Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 is presently on sale for $350, and is scheduled to begin shipping in July. Continue reading F8: Consumers Can Purchase Oculus Rift VR Headset in 2015

Facebook Plans to Launch its Long-Awaited Mobile Ad Network

Facebook is expected to launch its mobile advertising network during the F8 developer conference in San Francisco at the end of this month. Facebook plans to leverage its massive user information database for better ad targeting, and will pitch the ads to publishers and developers. The social giant will also benefit from expanding its ad reach, and will allow the company to profit from its over 1 billion users even when they are not on the site itself. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Launch its Long-Awaited Mobile Ad Network

Spotlight on Spotify: Facebook Integration, Radio Feature, Impact on Piracy

  • Spotify has been drawing a great deal of media attention this week, more so than the growing number of other streaming music services.
  • Since the company announced its partnership with Facebook at the recent F8 event, Spotify has gained more than one million new users, despite the public outcry from those who question limiting the service’s signup to Facebook users only.
  • In response to concerns regarding Facebook’s media-sharing philosophy, Spotify released a new update that enables users to access the Facebook app without sharing their listening habits, reports Digital Trends. This may be good news for subscribers not happy with the recent announcement regarding Facebook integration — and could potentially serve as a model for how others offer access to services via social networking.
  • In related news from The Hollywood Reporter, Spotify recently released a radio feature in the U.S. that has long been available to European users. Radio will be accessible on the desktop client, but not on the Spotify mobile app. The add-on is reportedly in no way a Pandora killer, due mainly to its lack of mobility and attention to detail.
  • Additionally, Digital Trends reports that Spotify may be having a significant impact on music piracy. Illegal downloads in Sweden have reportedly dropped 25 percent since Spotify launched there in 2009. “Here in the U.S., Spotify isn’t the only option — and it may not even be the best, depending on user preference. Pandora, MOG, Rdio, Grooveshark — the list goes on,” indicates the article. “We don’t yet have numbers to show how these services are affecting music piracy in the U.S. But we’d put our money on them having a similar effect as Spotify is having in Sweden.”

Are There Key Ingredients Missing from Facebook Music Sharing?

  • Following last week’s F8 developer’s conference, and the news that Facebook is making a significant shift into media sharing, Wired offers an interesting take on possible missing elements to successfully sharing music via the social network.
  • “Yes, Facebook will facilitate legal music sharing — something the industry has been trying to do ever since Napster electrified (some would say “electrocuted”) the music business over 10 years ago,” suggests the article. “But as important as it is, Facebook’s music initiative is missing five key ingredients, all of which are within its grasp.”
  • According to Wired, the following are the missing ingredients…
  • True Music Sharing: Facebook should allow people to listen to each other’s music using whatever music service they want. Instead of using the service that the friend is using, you should have the option to select which platform you would like to use. They’ve started doing this (somewhat unfairly) for Spotify with a “play in Spotify” link in shared songs on other platforms, like Rdio.
  • Real-Time Group Listening: “Why didn’t Facebook music launch with the ability to join other listeners on a station in real-time, so that people can chat about what they’re hearing…?”
  • Music Tab in the Ticker: With all the new information coming to Ticker through automatic updates in Open Graph, it would be nice to have a music filter to separate music updates from other things like adding friends.
  • Apple: Apple, iTunes and iCloud were not included in the media system and would be beneficial to users.
  • Independent Developers: Facebook just needs to “stay out of the way” of independent app developers that build third-party players atop their catalogs — apps that could offer a range of interfaces, platforms, designs, features, and more to programs like Rdio or Spotify.

Tectonic Shift: What You Should Know About the New Facebook

  • We’ve received a flood of interesting articles and posts about newly announced changes to Facebook that emerged from yesterday’s F8 developer’s conference. You can check out the submissions stream on ETCentric to access all the write-ups and opinions, but in the meanwhile, the following provides a a quick snapshot…
  • Timeline: Your entire Facebook life. It condenses information the further back in time you go, allows you to navigate specific years, and provides the option to feature, add or remove items. It is important to note however, this is not merely a new feature. It will completely replace current profiles, according to TheNextWeb.
  • Ticker: This is a status feed that updates your activities, but is separate from your status updates that appear in the Newsfeed. This feature is now especially important to keep an overwhelming amount of information from coming through the new Open Graph Apps. “The Ticker is Facebook’s assault on Twitter,” reports Gizmodo. “Facebook is hoping that the tiny aspects of your life that you currently share on Twitter, you’ll be more likely to share on Facebook. One site for all your social networking.”
  • Open Graph Apps: Includes a variety of apps such as Spotify and Hulu that automatically update your Ticker and Timeline based on the settings you create for each app. Friends see what video you’re watching, what music you’re listening to, what games you’re playing, and more. This feature is available now, while Timeline will take a few more weeks.
  • It is worth mentioning that since music, news, video and more will be shared with friends and family, it may also be shared with marketers. Open Graph will enable an ecosystem for developers. Your Facebook profile will become “the story of your life” which is written for you in real time as you curate your personal information and your use of apps. Similarly, you will learn more about your friends. And all this personal information will be used to serve you with micro-targeted ads. People will be given the option of privacy even though most will probably not alter the default settings.
  • Social Sharing: By essentially creating a discovery engine for all your apps, Facebook hopes to dramatically change how we interact and share media electronically (through what Mark Zuckerberg calls “serendipitous discovery”). The Gizmodo post features a video on social sharing that provides a great view of how the Open Graph app sharing works.
  • Prior to the F8 event, eMarketer published a report forecasting that Facebook would double its global revenue to $4.27 billion in 2011.

Google+ Social Network Now Open to Public: Just Follow the Blue Arrow

  • Google+ opened to the public this week, two days prior to the annual F8 developer’s conference of rival Facebook.
  • “Google+ lets people share comments, articles, photos and videos with various ‘circles’ of friends or contacts, or they can share content publicly with any user who wants to view their posts,” reports The Wall Street Journal.
  • Vic Gundotra, a Google senior vice president, explained via a post on the company’s blog that Google+ is still in its infancy, but that the latest features bring the total number of improvements to 100 since the site’s launch three months ago.
  • In addition to the ability to search for information on topics, see related posts from other Google+ users and relevant content from the Web, Android users with front-facing cameras on their mobile devices can now have a multi-person “hangout” (as compared to Apple’s Facetime which supports only two for face-to-face video chats).
  • According to the article: “Google+ lets as many as 10 people communicate simultaneously in a video ‘hangout.’ On Tuesday, Google said people can broadcast a ‘hangout’ to the public, similar to how Google’s YouTube video site lets some partners broadcast a live event.”
  • Focusing on video may give Google an advantage over Facebook. “Google+, which launched in late June and which up till now had only been open by invitation to users, is also putting a heavier emphasis on video, one of its main technology advantages over Facebook,” reports WSJ. “Facebook, which has more than 750 million active monthly users, recently inked a deal with Skype SA to allow its users to communicate with each other through their computer’s built-in video cameras.”
  • For those who may be interested in registering for Google+, simply follow the blue arrow prominently featured on the Google.com page.

Media Sharing: Facebook Expected to Unveil New Service at F8 Conference

  • Facebook is expected to unveil a new service at its F8 developers conference in San Francisco on Thursday that allows users to share their music, TV shows and movies (for example, a user’s Facebook profile page would display the music being consumed to friends).
  • The New York Times suggests that Facebook has reportedly signed deals with Spotify, Rhapsody, MOG, Deezer and Vevo that may bring millions of new users to their sites. Some are responding by introducing new ad-supported services to lessen the “friction” for new users (however, Rhapsody will reportedly continue with its subscription-only service).
  • Related news has been reported via ETCentric in recent days…
  • More information is emerging about Facebook’s new music service (which may be called Vibes). TechCrunch reports that “MOG, Spotify and Rdio have of course already been widely reported as launch partners for ‘Facebook Music,’ but notably, Deezer, SoundCloud and Rhapsody are new names.” This is based on “interesting references” found in the HTML code of the various streaming services.
  • In addition to an anticipated new music service, reports are circulating that the social networker may announce plans for bringing Hulu and possibly Netflix into the fold. We’ll see what shakes out this week, but until then the news media is in rumor mode: “Real-time viewing parties? It’s possible. Just not confirmed,” reports Gizmodo. “But the deal keeps things interesting for Hulu pre-buyout, its backing providers having all but jumped ship and offering their own streaming services.”
  • ETCentric will have more later in the week following the conference. Stay tuned…

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