Facebook has rolled our a new feature that allows users to upload images in the comments section. I saw this new feature on accessing Facebook from my browser a couple of days ago but it had disappeared yesterday. Then late at night I saw this option again available on my profile.
You will see a new camera icon at the comments field. We can upload images from our computer within the comments. Though this is a nice step by Facebook, I was a little disappointed that it does not allow you to first choose from your own photos you already have on Facebook but expects an upload.
Also these photos comments are not available on Facebook pages but are available on Facebook groups. I think this is rolled out to personal profiles mainly because it is easier to control who comments on your Facebook posts.
Facebook’s iPhone and Android apps do not have this new feature but comments with images can be seen on it. I guess a new app update will hopefully bring the option of adding images in comments from the phone itself.
Facebook has today released a Instagram Video, a new feature that allows users to create fifteen second videos. There are 13 filters that can be applied to the video before publishing it. This move is targeted at Vine which last year was acquired by Twitter.
Vine allows users something similar and has become very popular for Twitter users. Instagram for video has some very good features in-built like video steady-cam that allows videos to look better even when taken from a mobile phone.
When Instagram was bought by Facebook, they first hit back with removing Twitter cards on Instagram. This stopped users from seeing a preview of Instagram images shared on Twitter. Twitter hit back by having their own image filters built into their mobile apps. The a popular service called Vine which allowed 6 second video uploads was acquired by Twitter and its growth has been exponential even though it was initially only on the iOS platform.
Overall, I still find these videos are too much style over substance. But considering its popularity, it would be interesting to see if Google has similar plans with YouTube.
Try out Instagram Video by updating the app on your phone. Or you can download them from the links below. Do drop in your comment.
Facebook has copied Twitter once again. First time they copied them when they revealed newly designed News Feed and said that they want to make our news feed look like a personalized news paper (which is what Twitter actually is). Then they copied them by launching blue verified check marks for celebrity pages and now they’re copying their rival once again by showing hashtags in the News Feed.
If you enjoy #hashtags on Twitter, Instagram or Google+ then you will be able to enjoy it on Facebook too. Till now hashtags on Facebook used to look like plain, regular text without any link to accompany them. But now they will become clickable with a link. If you enjoyed a status update on any topic and it contains a hashtag, then you can view more updates on the same topic by clicking on that hashtag.
What happens to Privacy?
When it comes to the visibility of your own posts in hashtag feeds, then Facebook says that your private posts will still remain private and they won’t show up to any unintended audiences in hashtag feeds. So your privacy will remain in your control. And based on this feature, company is planning to roll out trending hashtags and some other exciting secondary features too in the upcoming days.
What are your views on Facebook introducing hashtags? Will it add to the spam on Facebook? Do drop in your comments.
A new app named Pipe is now on Facebook that makes file sharing between Facebook friends a lot more easier. This Facebook app comes bundled with many features. The recipient need not be online at the time of sharing the file. There is no need for the recipient to be using the app at the time of sending the file either.
How it works:
First visit the app page for Pipe on Facebook. The working interface of Pipe looks really simple. Once you start using this app, you’ll remember those golden Super Mario childhood days.
You just have to choose the friend to whom you want to send the file and then drag-and-drop the file in the green tube. The file will be sent immediately if that recipient if online at that time.
Once you have uploaded the file, the app will ask you permissions to notify your friend. It’s best to notify your friend about this file, or he/she may not download the file and Pipe will have to remove that file eventually.
If your friend is offline, the file will be stored in a special, safe location called Locker and Pipe will notify him/her the next time he/she is online. Note that files cannot be stored in the Locker forever. They can be stored for a maximum period of 5 days.
Have you noticed a small, white and blue check mark symbol on some popular Facebook pages recently? If not, head to the official Facebook page of Barack Obama, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez or any other popular celebrity. You will notice a small white and blue check mark symbol indicating that they are verified pages.
Yesterday, Facebook rolled out these special verified badges would show up on popular profiles and pages. This move is to prove that those profiles are the original ones and not a fake ones. Just like Twitter’s policies and now Google+, these Facebook verified badges won’t be given to any normal Facebook user.
At the moment this feature seems to be only available to US based users.
But the recent updates show that, Facebook people with a relatively large subscriber base seem to get verified.
It is good that Facebook is adding verified symbols to very popular profiles and pages. This has clearly helped resolve confusion over fake and real profiles on Twitter so it should be helpful similarly on Facebook.
Do you think Facebook is trying to hard to become like Twitter? Do drop in your comments.
Facebook has tried to solve some long standing issues of being overwhelmed by feeds in a newly designed ‘News Feed’ layout. Though I have registered for it long ago, it has not been activated for me as yet.
One major issue with Facebook for me is coming across the same post over and over again. For instance a friends shares a photo today it shows up on my feed. Then when another common friends “Likes” or “Comments” on that photo, it shows up again on my feeds. I can choose to micro-manage every single friend’s news feed settings but that is tedious and more or less impossible if you have hundreds of friends.
Social Fixer is a cool browser extension that eliminates the same post from showing up over and over again. More importantly, it also provides several other useful features.
Social Fixer actually works without the need of sharing your username or password. It basically fixes your feeds and the layout. The most important feature for me personally was “Mark All Read” option showing up on my timeline. This way my News Feed was clean and posts were not repeated (image above).
There are several options like hiding certain boxes, ads, even sponsored posts from your news feeds.
The browser extension allows various different Facebook themes but I did not really find any more useful than the default one.
Another great feature was how images from a feed could be previewed. These were not just from uploaded photos but also images from a link shared in your news feed (see below).
It also has a small box which shows the friends who have unfriended you.
Last but not the least, Social Fixer is supported on all major browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari. It does not support Internet Explorer.
I felt that Facebook could learn a few things regarding social fixer. Unfortunately Social Fixer works only on your PC browser and not with your phone apps. This is because, SocialFixer only fixes the layout, customizing what you can hide and display while browsing through Facebook.
Still in my opinion a must have browser add-on if you are surfing through Facebook on your PC browser.
Facebook has a new innovative feature with ‘Facebook Home’ for Android phones. That feature is called “Chat Heads”. It allows a small circular icon indicating the person who has messaged you on Facebook. The innovative part was working it with SMS text messaging on the phone.
Facebook also has messenger app for Android which worked as a chat app. Now the “Chat Heads” feature is introduced with a new update of the app. It works great and seems to be the best way to keep track of text messages too.
“Chat Heads” a challenge to WhatsApp?
Facebook was reportedly trying to acquire “Whatsapp” the popular messaging app. This would have given Facebook access to our text messages to an extent. The deal probably did not go through or the news was just a rumor. With “Chat Heads” feature, Facebook does something similar to Whatsapp, though it cannot be used as a alternative to SMS. But if now does have access to our SMS and can build ahead from there.
As you probably know, a few days back Facebook has finally broke the ‘Facebook Phone’ rumor by releasing an Android launcher, along with a phone partnered with HTC. The event was streamed live and it was mentioned that ‘Facebook Home’ – the launcher app, will be available for selected devices in Play Store on April 12th.
Interestingly, a pre release build of the app has been leaked and you can install and use it right now.
Installing Facebook Home
Before you get ready to try the launcher, note that it’s a pre-release build. It’s very laggy on my Galaxy Nexus and looks unfinished in many areas. The Chat heads feature doesn’t work at all. But you do get a overall feel of how Facebook Home looks like.
Not every phone can run this pre release build, though. Your Android needs to have a maximum resolution of 1280 x 768px and there should be no traces of Facebook app in your phone – that includes Facebook app downloaded from Play store and even the system app which comes by default in many ROMs. To remove system apps, you need your device to be rooted.
But if you’re running a custom ROM like Cyanogen Mod which doesn’t have Facebook as a system app, you’re in luck.
Facebook decided to unveil something new on Android and there were the usual speculations about a Facebook phone. It was not a Facebook phone on Android but it ultimately turned out to be a app launcher for Android phones.
“Facebook Home” allows users to get their Facebook feeds, notifications, photos and updates on the home screen of an Android phone. It has some handy features, which leverages Android open system, to bundle Facebook at the centre of your phone.
It will be available pre-installed with the new HTC First phone too. From 12th April it will be available for download for HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S3 and the new Samsung Galaxy S4.
“Facebook Home” could be a potential masterstroke by the social networking giant. Why potential? I will get to it a bit later in this post.
How does ‘Facebook Home’ work?
Facebook Home goes live for certain Android phones on 12th April. It will have your Facebook updates and more on the home screen. The app launcher will allow Facebook apps to be bundled and launched seamlessly to work with Facebook.
Another great innovation is Chat heads. Yes, they are actually calling it “chat heads”. The chat heads feature allows users to manage their text message and Facebook messaging from a single place.
Chat Heads feature will also allow users to keep chatting from any screen they are on and users will be able to move chat heads anywhere on the screen to get back and fro between chatting.
So why is “Facebook Home” a great idea?
Here are a five reasons why Facebook Home is a masterstroke.
Much of Facebook’s revenue will come from mobile phones over the next 5 years. Facebook Home basically injects and takes over your phone. You phone experience becomes Facebook based rather than app based.
Any one using Facebook Home on their Android phone, will naturally ignore other products. That makes Facebook more and more central to those users.
Facebook will get to show full screen ads from time to time, which could be a lot more effective on mobile phones screens. In app payments also could be next and promoted with more success on Facebook Home rather than a mobile phone app.
Also Facebook will now have access to data that they never got, which is access to your GPS data on the phone, you favourite apps, places you visit and people you call most often.
Finally, Facebook has a natural advantage. It is the only company that could pull off something like this. With over 1 billion users it has the necessary mass to have enough people use features like “Facebook Home” and NOT miss other apps. This applies especially to people who are prominently using only Facebook on their phones.
Where ‘Facebook Home’ could go wrong?
Okay, now I am back to why it is a “potential” masterstroke and not a bonafide one.
The problem with “Facebook Home” is that Facebook has a bad track record regarding their mobile phone apps. Even on my iPad, it is one of my least favourite app.
Facebook also has not the best track record of users trusting it with their data. Photos and updates are one thing but I am sure they do not want Facebook tracking who we call or send text messages to. With “Facebook Home” they could be closer to doing exactly that.
Finally, users literally need to surrender their phone to Facebook for ‘Facebook Home’ to work. It is something that people over 25 years age, might not like at all. Professionals do not necessarily want to use a social network all the time on their phone and might prefer using Facebook as a mere app.
With pros and con weighed, I find this is exciting news for heavy Facebook users. It also is a bit of a backhanded compliment to Android as a OS. Facebook is choosing Android for their newest innovation and not Apple’s iPhone it always did in the past.
Facebook has started prompting page owners and admins to choose threaded comments. They do not call it threaded comments or threaded conversations and like most things Facebook, it has a complicated name like “Reply links”.
So if you own a Facebook page you might get this prompt when you visit it.
Turn on replies and every new comments will show up with “Reply” link. Clicking on it will allow you to reply to a comment. Replied comments do not show a reply link. This makes sense as sometimes a big discussion can really end up looking difficult to read. Here is a screenshot of threaded conversation on our Facebook Page.
These comments show up in the old style on mobile platforms. I am guessing once Facebook apps are updated, it threaded comments will be introduced.
Will Reply Links reduce notification spam?
One major issue with Facebook pages is that popular updates get a lot of “Likes” and comments. Every time a user comments on an update they get notifications when someone else comments. This can be annoying if those comments are unrelated to your comment and can cause notification spam.
Also threaded conversation might help with blogs using Facebook comments on their blogs. What are your views on Facebook comments getting a reply link? Do drop in your comments.