Facebook introduces new Nearby Friends feature for location sharing

by Jared Peters on
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Facebook is introducing a new feature that’s going to make its privacy-conscious users cringe. The new feature, called Nearby Friends, does exactly what it sounds like; it alerts you whenever you’re in the general vicinity of one of your Facebook friends. If you’re going to the movies or going out to eat, you can find out who’s near you to arrange a meet-up. » Read the rest

If you don’t have Facebook Messenger installed now, you will very soon

by Robert Nazarian on
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Those of you that rely on the Facebook app for your chats won’t be able to much longer if Facebook follows through on their plan. Facebook has notified users in a few European countries that messaging friends in the Facebook app will stop in about 2 weeks. Users will still be able to message their friends, but they will have to download and install the Facebook Messenger app in order to do so.

This doesn’t appear to be a “test” and is the long term plan for Facebook. You can expect this change to hit every country, but there are a few caveats. Those with lower-end Android devices won’t be required to use Messenger. Also, for whatever reason, Windows phone users will still be able to see messages in the Facebook app. Finally, the Paper newsreader app (not on Android yet) will still show messages.

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Facebook Messenger gets free calling over WiFi and more in latest update

by Justin Herrick on
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Facebook Messenger is receiving a hefty update today that brings few, but wanted features. Instead of having all of your contacts in the same place, groups can now be composed for your favorite people and pictures will remain there. Also, if someone is not in a conversation you are having, forwarding a message or photo is just a tap away. Shortcuts to a conversation are now able to be pinned to the home screen.

Facebook Messenger finally has free calling over WiFi. You can call using your data plan; however, you are using precious data. This puts the application more in-line with others like Skype. The update is live for everyone and does not seem to be taking place with a staged rollout.

Hit the break for the full changelog and download links. » Read the rest

Facebook announces acquisition of Oculus VR

by Christian de Looper on
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In a move that surprised many, Facebook has announced that they will buy Oculus VR, the virtual reality company best know for creating the Oculus Rift. This acquisition poses the question: will social networking one day be an immersive, 3D experience?

The deal was even more surprising because of the fact that Oculus is a fairly small startup that hasn’t even released a product to the public yet. They are also somewhat of a niche company aimed mostly at hard-core gamers.

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Facebook introduces beta program for Messenger

by Robert Nazarian on
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Facebook already took advantage of Google’s beta program with the Facebook app, and now they are including Messenger. This is a good thing since they can get feedback from a lot of users before releasing enhancements to the general public.

If you are already a beta user for the main Facebook app, you still have to sign up for Messenger. The good news is both are independent so you don’t have to be part of both. You can choose one or the other. Hit the break for full instructions for the Messenger beta.

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Facebook Android app updated, bringing photos in comments, ability to delete albums, and more

by Christian de Looper on
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facebook_screenshot_1 facebook_screenshot_2The Facebook app for Android was updated today, bringing a number of new features to the app, especially surrounding photos. The app now allows users to be able to post photos in the comments sections of posts, which has been doable in the desktop version of Facebook for a while now.

The app also now allows users to be able to delete and edit photo albums from their device. You can also untag yourself in photos, as well as upload more than one image at a time. Last but not least, it’s now easier for users to pin and unpin posts to groups.

Facebook seems to be getting closer to rolling out the flat UI to everyone, and some users have reported to already having the new UI. Hit the break for the download link to the updated version of the app!

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WhatsApp to bring voice calling to Android and iOS in Q2 2014

by Jared Peters on
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WhatsApp, under new management from Facebook, has shifted course slightly on its 2014 roadmap. At MWC this year, CEO of the company, Jan Koum, announced that WhatsApp users would be seeing a new feature rolled out in the next few months: voice calling.

Voice calling will initially become available to Android and iOS users in Q2 of 2014, with BlackBerry and Windows Phone users seeing the addition later on in the year. They didn’t reveal any details about how the voice calling would work, but it’s very likely that it will work like WhatsApp’s normal messaging service in that users will get a free trial period, then have to pay 99 cents per year to keep using it. Of course, if that is the plan, it’s still as cheap as ever. » Read the rest

Facebook changes privacy settings on deceased members’ “memorial accounts”

by Harrison Kaminsky on
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In the past, there has been some controversy surrounding Facebook’s policy that applies to accounts of deceased members. Before now, after a Facebook member passed away, the only people able to view the deceased person’s account are his/her Facebook friends, regardless of his/her former privacy settings before he/she died.

Now, the privacy settings on the person’s account will remain, so that if the user’s settings were more or less limited, their wishes before death will be honored.

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Facebook to acquire WhatsApp in $19B deal

by Jeff Causey on
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Earlier today Facebook announced that an agreement had been reached for the social media giant to acquire WhatsApp, one of the most popular, fastest growing mobile messaging platforms. The deal includes a cash payment of $4B, the issuance of $12B worth of Facebook Class A common stock, and another $3B in restricted stock to be issued to WhatsApp employees. Combined, the new stockholders from WhatsApp will represent almost 8% of Facebook shareholders. Shortly after the announcement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum held a conference call to provide additional details and insight into the deal. » Read the rest

Facebook ready to fragment on mobile platforms in 2014

by Jeff Causey on
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Users of Facebook’s mobile app for smartphones may know, if they’ve ever ventured beyond the newsfeed view, that the app is packed full of “features.” At their last earnings call in October, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said “in the future, we expect to develop more of these services to help people share” in reference to separate apps like Instagram and Messenger. It appears that Zuckerberg dropped a big clue to the company’s 2014 strategy even though many glossed over the comment when it was made, a move to unbundle some of the buried features in Facebook and turn them into standalone apps. » Read the rest