Facebook Shows Off AR Masks, Stylized Filters for Live Video

After acquiring the face-tracking and 3D face replacement company MSQRD, Facebook integrated its augmented reality selfie lenses, dubbed Masks, starting with a Halloween skeleton, witch and pumpkin. Users in the U.S., U.K. and New Zealand, and public figures, will be able to use the iOS version of Masks on Facebook Mentions. The company says it will rollout masks to Android and other countries in coming months. Facebook also demonstrated stylized filters, which will be a real-time processing option for Live Video. Continue reading Facebook Shows Off AR Masks, Stylized Filters for Live Video

Oculus Connect Unveils Wireless Headset, Social VR, Web VR

At the third Oculus Connect, the company revealed Santa Cruz, a new prototype headset that doesn’t require external cameras or towers to move through digital space. The cameras detect real motion, which matches the virtual environment. Also shown was a new social VR experience that allows the user to hang out with friends, who appear as icons, in a real-world 360-degree scene. Oculus debuted the ReactVR JavaScript framework for building WebVR experiences that will be able to run on Carmel, Oculus’ upcoming VR Web browser. Continue reading Oculus Connect Unveils Wireless Headset, Social VR, Web VR

Facebook in Talks with Foreign Nations to Begin Drone Trials

Several tech companies want to provide Internet access to developing nations via drones, satellites and balloons, but they all face obstacles, including getting approval to operate in foreign airspace and use radio spectrum to broadcast signals to the ground. Google already conducted its first tests of Project Loon, using high-altitude balloons, and OneWeb is at work on multiple satellites to deliver the Internet from space. Now Facebook is talking to several countries to create trial Internet broadcasts from drones. Continue reading Facebook in Talks with Foreign Nations to Begin Drone Trials

Facebook at Work Enters Crowded Field But Offers Familiarity

Facebook at Work will be unveiled in London on October 10, marking the first time that Facebook has launched a global product outside of the U.S. The work “conversation” platform was developed in Facebook’s London office, and some major European companies — including Telenor and the Royal Bank of Scotland — took part in the closed beta. Facebook vice president of EMEA Nicola Mendelsohn will lead the event, with other Facebook leaders and “special guests” in attendance, although it’s not clear if Mark Zuckerberg will be there. Continue reading Facebook at Work Enters Crowded Field But Offers Familiarity

Chan Zuckerberg Fund Invests $3 Billion in Medical Research

Facebook chief exec Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan announced they plan to invest more than $3 billion over the next 10 years to develop tech focused on research to combat disease. “The first investment by the couple’s for-profit philanthropic arm, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC, will be $600 million to create a research lab of engineers and scientists based in San Francisco,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “This focus on building on tools suggests a road map for how we might go about curing, preventing and managing all diseases this century,” said Zuckerberg. Continue reading Chan Zuckerberg Fund Invests $3 Billion in Medical Research

Rocket Explosion is a Setback for Facebook’s Internet Program

A Falcon 9 rocket designed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX exploded during a prelaunch test at Cape Canaveral yesterday, destroying a satellite and its payload that was scheduled to launch into orbit on Saturday. The accident marks a setback for Facebook’s effort to bring Internet access to the world. The satellite was a joint venture between the social giant and France’s Eutelsat Communications, part of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative to help get unconnected people online and lower the cost of Internet access. This particular satellite would have reached more than a dozen countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Continue reading Rocket Explosion is a Setback for Facebook’s Internet Program

Twitter Now Shares Advertising Revenue with Video Creators

In an effort to lure content creators and better compete with social platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat, Twitter announced that it will share 70 percent of ad revenue with users that upload videos. “Those are much better margins than what a video creator can get on the world’s biggest video site, Google’s YouTube, which pays creators 55 percent of the video ad revenue,” reports Wired. Twitter has reportedly already applied the 70-30 revenue split with some big names, including the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball. However, Twitter is playing catch up; YouTube generates billions of daily video views, and Facebook algorithms have been emphasizing live video in the platform’s News Feed. Continue reading Twitter Now Shares Advertising Revenue with Video Creators

Alively Places Emphasis on ‘One-to-Few’ Livestreaming Video

The new livestreaming app Alively, available for Apple mobile devices, is aimed at people who want to share live videos with a select group of people. Other livestreaming options include Twitter’s Periscope, Shanghai-based Musical.ly’s Live.ly, and Facebook Live. One of Alively’s founders — Vadim Lavrusik — was the former product manager of Facebook Live. He and co-founders Ray Lee and Vincent Tuscano are betting that many users don’t want to share their videos with their entire social media networks. Continue reading Alively Places Emphasis on ‘One-to-Few’ Livestreaming Video

Teens Create Shareable Video Bios with Facebook’s Lifestage

Constructed as a way for high school students to get to know their classmates, Facebook’s new Lifestage is a standalone iOS app, aimed at people 21 and under. The user answers a series of biographical questions by shooting video rather than writing text, and Lifestage turns the clips into a video profile that others can watch. Users, who can swipe to block and/or report sketchy visitors, do not need a Facebook account but instead select their high school to see video profiles of classmates. Continue reading Teens Create Shareable Video Bios with Facebook’s Lifestage

Facebook Unveils Tools, Metrics to Improve Video Production

Not long ago, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg predicted that video would be the dominant means of communication on the social platform. To give that goal a leg up, the company unveiled tools to help video creators improve the odds of engaging audiences. The video analytics include the ability to break down minutes of a video view by age, gender and geographic location. Facebook also introduced tools to help creators tell stories with 360 videos, by enabling a “guide” of story points that viewers can opt to follow. Continue reading Facebook Unveils Tools, Metrics to Improve Video Production

Instagram Adds Snapchat-Like Features in Social Media Battle

Facebook tried and failed to acquire Snapchat, and now Facebook-owned Instagram is having a go at beating Snapchat at its own game. The photo-sharing company just debuted Instagram Stories, which in format is very similar to Snapchat Stories: users can share photos and videos that last no more than 24 hours. This might spark a battle between the two apps, which have never been in direct competition. Both mobile apps are now trying to increase digital advertising, which could bring the issue to a head. Continue reading Instagram Adds Snapchat-Like Features in Social Media Battle

Facebook Live Tests Mid-Roll Ads as Potential Revenue Model

After hinting for months that it might introduce commercial breaks inside live video streams, Facebook has started testing this concept with some of its top publishers. This marks the first time the company has served ads directly from inside videos, and follows on the heels of its new policy of paying some publishers and digital influencers to post video. The payments provide a financial incentive to post on Facebook since the platform so far lacks an advertising model that could generate shared revenue. Continue reading Facebook Live Tests Mid-Roll Ads as Potential Revenue Model

Facebook Touts Major Growth, Driven by Mobile Advertising

Facebook added 220 million monthly users in the past year, for a current total user base of 1.71 billion people. More than 90 percent of those users access Facebook via their mobile devices, where Facebook reaped 84 percent of its $6.2 billion in advertising revenue in the last quarter. The company saw 80 percent growth in Q2 from mobile ads, from an overall 59 percent growth rate in advertising. WhatsApp and Messenger, both of which have 1 billion users, are part of the company’s next move into video. Continue reading Facebook Touts Major Growth, Driven by Mobile Advertising

Facebook Messenger Passes the One Billion User Milestone

Facebook’s messaging app Messenger just reached a landmark: one billion people use it every month, says the Silicon Valley company. Facebook’s other messaging app — WhatsApp, which it acquired for $19 billion two years ago — is the most used messaging app in the world, passing the one-billion user mark in February, likely growing further since. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg says each messaging app is distinct. The company goal is to make messaging, not apps, its primary computing interface. Continue reading Facebook Messenger Passes the One Billion User Milestone

Facebook Messenger Will Soon Enable ‘Secret Conversations’

Facebook Messenger currently has more than 900 million regular monthly users, more than quadruple the 200 million it touted in early 2014. To grow in international markets, Facebook is testing a new feature inside Messenger that will encrypt some messages, creating “secret conversations” between the users of the two mobile devices. Users must opt-in to a secret conversation. Although this isn’t the full encryption found in WhatsApp, the new feature offers more security than before, which Facebook hopes will appeal to global users. Continue reading Facebook Messenger Will Soon Enable ‘Secret Conversations’

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