Oculus offering up a $1 million prize pool for Gear VR development challenge

samsung_gear_vr_officialOculus has announced a new competition for developers with a fairly massive prize pool for great games or experiences. The challenge is focused around Samsung’s Gear VR, and the prize pool totals up to $1 million. There a few different awards, with the top game netting 200k, the top app or experience taking home 100k, and a few steps below that with different variations of prize money. Games are obviously the central focus here, but quality apps are still getting some recognition, which is good to see.
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Facebook Is Developing VR Apps, Because VR

 

Facebook-chris-coxIn a move that should come as little surprise in the wake of last year’s $2 billion acquisition of virtual reality firm Oculus, Facebook head of product Chris Cox admitted that Facebook is “working on apps for VR.” What exactly that will entail is anyone’s guess, as Cox demurred elaborating on the subject, but he does see a world where users can swap environments with other users via an app. And, of course, everyone will do it, including Beyoncé.


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Facebook giving users more control of what happens after they die

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We have always worried about what happens with our possessions after we die, but the 21st century has given us another thing to be concerned about….our online life. Google has already added controls for your Gmail account in the event that you die, and now Facebook is joining the party.

Facebook already had something in place in that someone could report your death and your account would become memorialized, which freezes the account, stopping any further posts or changes. For many Facebook users, that wasn’t enough, so starting today, you should see a new option in your security settings which will allow you to choose someone else to take over managing your account in the event you do pass.


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Facebook Lite puts Facebook on a diet for low-specced phones

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With tech companies targeting mobile growth in developing markets with low-specced entry level devices, some of today’s apps may be a bit heavy around the waist to perform well on these devices. Facebook is one of these apps, and while the company was worked toward making the app faster and more responsive through an endless series of updates, the app can still struggle on lower-end devices. Facebook seems to know this because it’s released Facebook Lite, an app that comes in at 0.25 MB.


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Facebook testing transcripts for Messenger voice clips

 

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Rather than leaving a message with voicemail, people are sending voice clips. They are quicker to access and easier to manage. Messaging apps want to keep users within the service and adding support for voice clips does just that. To take things a bit further, transcripts of voice clips are gaining traction. Facebook Messenger is rolling out a feature to its users that converts voice clips into a message with text automatically created by the app. Facebook is testing the feature with a very small amount of users at this time so do not be surprised if your voice clips will not convert into transcripts just yet.

Source: David Marcus (Facebook)

Your Facebook timeline will soon feature AMBER alerts

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AMBER Alerts are pretty useful in putting out the word about missing or potentially abducted children. And in a bid to make this more useful and social, Facebook will be adding AMBER Alerts to users’ timelines in the coming days. Only geographically relevant alerts will be provided to the users, so you shouldn’t see them crowding your timeline on a regular basis.
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Facebook makes special holiday features available for Messenger

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Despite claims that Google+ is a “dead” social network, it appears Facebook has decided to take a page or two out of Google’s playbook for the holidays. Google+ users are familiar with the goodies that Google makes available for their social platform during different times of year, like virtual snow added to winter pics that are posted. Facebook has released some similar features for their Messenger application.
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