Oculus Story Studio Explores Ways to Make VR More Social

Oculus Story Studio, a lab program within Oculus VR dedicated to experimentation with the goal of helping virtual reality grow as a platform, is using “Lost Director’s Cut,” a new version of the studio’s short VR film as the basis for a new social experience that promises to change the paradigm of VR experiences from solitary to shared. The purpose of the new demonstration is to show filmmakers and other creatives how far they can push virtual reality beyond current single-person, isolated experiences. Continue reading Oculus Story Studio Explores Ways to Make VR More Social

Facebook Eyes New Ways to Earn Revenue from Messaging

Facebook is looking to integrate mobile games into its Messenger app and business-to-consumer chats into WhatsApp. Both of these initiatives have the potential to generate new revenue for the social network. Game developers would potentially pay big bucks to make their games such an integral part of the Facebook experience. The gaming integration is already in the works, while the WhatsApp move may be introduced later. Facebook is talking with game developers to add new play options to Facebook Messenger. Continue reading Facebook Eyes New Ways to Earn Revenue from Messaging

Letter Released in Protest of Facebook’s Free Internet Project

As part of the growing backlash to Facebook’s Internet.org project, 65 advocacy organizations from 31 countries released a letter of protest this week to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook has partnered with wireless carriers and other organizations on the initiative that hopes to bring free Internet service to the developing world. However, the letter argues that the project “violates the principles of net neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy, and innovation.” Continue reading Letter Released in Protest of Facebook’s Free Internet Project

Oculus Rift VR Headsets Will Begin Shipping Early Next Year

Oculus VR announced yesterday that the company plans to ship its Oculus Rift headset by Q1 2016. Pricing and tech details have yet to be released, but consumers will be able to place pre-orders during the 2015 holidays. The virtual reality device, which has only been available for developers thus far, will need to be used with a PC. Both Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus, and Facebook, which acquired the company last year, expected to launch the headset earlier. However, the team has faced challenges regarding some of the system’s requirements. Continue reading Oculus Rift VR Headsets Will Begin Shipping Early Next Year

Facebook Shifts to Mobile, Pursues Global Digital Ad Market

Facebook revealed yesterday that while revenue and profit growth slowed for the company during Q1, nearly 75 percent of visitors accessed the social platform from mobile devices and two-thirds of its users now visit daily. Facebook claims that 1.44 billion people access its site or apps at least once a month. According to eMarketer, the company is second only to Google in terms of global digital advertising revenue. Facebook is pushing ads to its photo-sharing service Instagram and building new tools for ad targeting. Continue reading Facebook Shifts to Mobile, Pursues Global Digital Ad Market

WhatsApp Continues its Momentum, Now at 800 Million Users

Jan Koum, CEO and co-founder of WhatsApp, announced on Friday that the popular mobile messaging app now has 800 million monthly active users. Acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $22 billion, WhatsApp has the potential to reach one billion users this year. Since last August, the app has added 100 million active users about every four months. It now has more users than Facebook Messenger and competing apps. For many global users, the app has become an alternative to text messaging, and it recently added a feature for taking calls. Continue reading WhatsApp Continues its Momentum, Now at 800 Million Users

Facebook Hopes Drones Will Expand Global Internet Connectivity

Facebook has long expressed its goal to connect as many people as possible. The company already has a reported 1.4 billion users, but has plans to expand well beyond these numbers by launching drones that can provide high-speed connectivity to even the most remote areas of the world. The drones would resemble a Boeing 767 in width, weigh less than a small vehicle and help Facebook connect with the roughly 5 billion people that it does not already reach on a global scale.  Continue reading Facebook Hopes Drones Will Expand Global Internet Connectivity

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

Zuckerberg Pushes Potential of Internet.org at Telecom Confab

At this week’s Mobile World Congress, Facebook chief exec Mark Zuckerberg explained to a packed crowd why he believes Internet.org will eventually help carriers convince consumers to increase spending on mobile content. The Facebook-backed service, currently available in countries such as Paraguay and Zambia, is designed to offer those in emerging markets free access to the social network and some other online applications. For many new users, this would represent their first time surfing the Internet. Continue reading Zuckerberg Pushes Potential of Internet.org at Telecom Confab

Survey Shows Teens Continuing to Lose Interest in Facebook

A new report from Frank N. Magid Associates indicates that Facebook’s popularity with teenagers is continuing its decline. According to the study, Facebook usage by 13- to 17-year-old Americans engaged in social media dropped from 95 percent in 2012 to 94 percent in 2013, and 88 percent this year. During the same time frame, Twitter and various messaging apps experienced an increase in popularity with teenagers. In addition, only 9 percent of respondents described Facebook as “safe” or “trustworthy.” Continue reading Survey Shows Teens Continuing to Lose Interest in Facebook

Instagram Now Bigger Than Twitter, Looks to Brand Advertising

Instagram — the photo- and video-sharing app owned by Facebook — announced yesterday that it presently has 300 million monthly active users, up 50 percent in nine months (more than 70 percent of its users are now outside the United States). The new numbers suggest that the social service is more popular than Twitter today (Twitter recorded 284 million monthly active users for Q3). Instagram is looking to leverage its meteoric popularity to engage users in new ways, and draw advertisers at the same time. Continue reading Instagram Now Bigger Than Twitter, Looks to Brand Advertising

Facebook Messenger Growing Rapidly with 500 Million Users

Just three months after Facebook cut off the messaging capabilities from its mobile app, the company’s standalone messaging app, Facebook Messenger, now has 500 million monthly active users. That’s a 150 percent increase over last year. Much of the success is thanks to David Marcus, the former CEO of PayPal that took over the Messenger operation. In the future, Marcus and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plan to integrate payments and possibly advertising into the Messenger app. Continue reading Facebook Messenger Growing Rapidly with 500 Million Users

Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Technology Not Just About Gaming

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg imagined that the Oculus virtual reality technology his company acquired would eventually go beyond gaming — and it looks like that trend is already taking shape. Developers from a wide variety of industries are working on new apps for the Oculus Rift that could be used by stock traders, educators, psychiatrists, astronauts, filmmakers and others. The Oculus Rift is making VR more accessible because of its relatively low cost and growing variety of content. Continue reading Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Technology Not Just About Gaming

Facebook Debuts Hyper-Local Ads, Snapchat Ads Coming Soon

Facebook unveiled its hyper-local advertising feature this week. “Local Awareness” ads are designed to be more targeted and cost effective by allowing businesses to select a specific area for advertising and the age and gender of the desired audience. Meanwhile, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel says, “People are going to see the first ads on Snapchat soon.” The LA-based startup, which makes a mobile app for sharing brief photo messages, attracted investors this year at a $10 billion valuation without any revenue. Continue reading Facebook Debuts Hyper-Local Ads, Snapchat Ads Coming Soon

Facebook May Introduce Payments Through its Messenger App

Facebook is reportedly ready to allow money transactions between friends on Messenger, according to hacked screenshots and video from Cycript. The feature will allow users to send money using a debit card, similar to how one would send a picture. In order to enhance security, an in-app pincode has been added. The reasoning behind former PayPal President David Marcus’ move to head of Messenger is now clear. The app could compete with Venmo, PayPal, and Square Cash. Continue reading Facebook May Introduce Payments Through its Messenger App

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