Instagram’s real estate on Facebook News Feed grows following video announcement


Not long after Instagram launched its video features, it appears that Facebook made a change in how Instagram’s stories are shown in the redesigned News Feed.

Specifically, stories that showed when a user liked photos on Instagram have gotten much bigger. Video posts from Instagram to Facebook are also pretty large.


UPDATED: Facebook’s photo comments returned after brief outing


(UPDATE: It appears that the feature was just taken offline for a bit, and has since returned. Facebook told Inside Facebook that it is something the site is still rolling out.)

Some Facebook features are obviously more well received than others. Still, others seem like a good idea at the time, but upon “poking” into it further … not so much. On Wednesday, Facebook released the ability to reply or comment with images on profile posts. Many groaned at the thought of how this feature could be abused, but most people in my network seemed to be warming up to the idea by the next day. In fact most grumbling seemed to revolve around the fact that Facebook was still not allowing animated GIFs.

By Thursday, the feature had been extended to pages and groups. Surprisingly, as of this fourth revision of this feature review post, the feature has completely disappeared. In fact I noticed it was no longer working via the iOS Facebook app Thursday evening, but I thought it was just a hiccup. Speculation abounds. Will it return? Is it merely a glitch? We don’t know yet.

Inside Facebook has reached out to Facebook, and will update the story when the company responds.


Facebook could overtake Vine with Instagram video


The worst-kept secret in social media came to light Thursday, as Facebook introduced video for Instagram. It includes new video-specific filters, 15 seconds of multi-frame recording and a new feature called Cinema that will take shaky videos and make them look as if they were filmed professionally.

As Vine grows like crazy, Facebook needed to come up with a competitor. The iOS version of Vine — the popular 6-second video sharing app which was blocked from Facebook last year — recently hit the 13 million download mark. Facebook is hoping that Instagram’s 130 million users will be enough to make it the most popular video app. By introducing features such as Cinema and filters to video, Instagram can not only compete with Vine, but become the go-to app for advertisers.

With the addition of Cinema, a video stabilizer, brands can become major players on Instagram (and by extension Facebook), without having to spend big bucks.


Facebook unveils video for Instagram, complete with filters and stabilizing Cinema feature


After speculation about a news reader or even a new blogging platform, Facebook and Instagram finally set the record straight today. Instagram has debuted video sharing to its application as announced at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. on Thursday. Live now for iOS and Android devices, users will now be able to share and edit video complete with Instagram’s famous filters.

Instagram users will now be able to share 15 second videos natively in the application. Video is taken by pressing and holding the record button on the touch screen with the ability to delete specific clips users may not want. Once the user has finished recording, they can then add one of the 13 filters to the video and share with friends.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom says the goal of Instagram has always been to share memories and moments in visual form. He ensured that the addition of video will still maintain the experience of Instagram highlighting the app’s speed, simplicity and beauty. With this in mind, the company has also introduced a new video stabilization tool called Cinema which helps to prevent shaky video captures.


Facebook rolls out photo comments


Facebook has begun to roll out photo comments for all users. The new feature allows users to share images as comments on posts. The feature will be made available for user to user interactions, and will soon be an option to comment on page posts, as well.

Previously, Facebook would allow users to share an image as a comment by posting a link. It would then pull the image as a thumbnail for easy viewing. With this update, Facebook removes this middle step and allows users upload their images directly from their computer. These images appear larger than those shared by links and are hosted directly on Facebook. Users will not need to take the time to upload an image through a hosting site such as Imgur, Photobucket or many others.


Facebook now lets users suggest photos for place pages

placesAs part of the social network’s continuing efforts to build out its location database, Facebook now allows users to upload and suggest photos for unadministered place pages.

Facebook’s location platform relies heavily on user-generated content and community editing. Anyone can create a place or edit the details of an existing place, such as the category, business hours, website or other information. Some place pages are run by the people or organizations that own them, and in those cases, they can designate their own profile picture. This new feature applies to places that don’t have an admin.


Unadministered places are ones that are not managed by a person, business or organization, and are often cities, public parks or local businesses that haven’t claimed their page on Facebook. They do not appear in Timeline format like claimed places do. These rely on Facebook users and a community of power users called “Places Editors” to be filled out with complete information and photos.

Previously, users could suggest the place’s official website and then select one image from the site to serve as the profile picture of that place. Earlier this month, Facebook began rolling out a new way for users to add any photo to serve as the profile picture. Users can now upload a new photo or choose from one of their existing albums. Other users can vote on the submitted photos, and the most popular one becomes the profile picture. The other images become part of an album for the place.

Facebook builds photo sharing app for Google Glass

glass-photosGoogle today announced a number of new partners, including Facebook, with apps for its wearable computing device Google Glass.

Facebook developed its own app Facebook for Glass, which will allow users to post photos from Google Glass to their Facebook Timeline and friends’ News Feeds. Users can share photos they’ve just taken or upload past photos. To include a caption, users can speak their description aloud. The app includes options to share with the public, friends only or privately with the “only me” setting.

For now, the app enables photo sharing but not other types of status updates or posts. If Google Glass eventually comes into wide use, Facebook is likely to develop other ways for people to share, browse content or connect with friends through the device. The social network aims to let people access Facebook from any platform, whether it’s web, mobile, smart TVs or emerging categories like wearable computers. Generally, though, it focuses its own development on the top platforms like web, Android and iOS, whereas apps for less popular platforms like Windows Phone and Blackberry are done by those companies themselves.

“We look forward to exploring Facebook experiences across new types of mobile devices; this is only a first step,” Facebook Mobile Product Manager Erick Tseng wrote in a post on Facebook.

More information about Facebook for Glass is available from the social network’s Help Center. Other partners with apps for Glass announced today are Twitter, Tumblr, Path, Evernote, CNN, New York Times and Elle.


Instagram adds new photo tagging feature, creates ‘photos of you’ section of profile

instagramInstagram today announced a new way for users to tag their friends and other accounts, along with “Photos of You,” a new section of the profile that displays all the photos a user or brand has been tagged in.

The feature is similar to Facebook’s own photo tagging, where users can tap an area of a photo to add a person’s name. The person will be alerted and have the option to approve the photo before it goes on their profile. Previously, users could mention other users in the caption of their photos, but there was no way to clearly indicate who was in a photo and where. There also wasn’t a way to quickly access all the photos users themselves were in.


One difference from Facebook is that users can easily tag brand accounts. Facebook allows tagging of pages from desktop but never brought the feature to mobile, a missed opportunity since so many photos are uploaded from mobile devices. Instagram, with hashtags and now photo tagging, is closer to Twitter in being a platform for connecting with public figures, brands and people that users don’t know in person. Facebook on the other hand has struggled on this front in large part because there isn’t an easy way to tag non-friends or to notify those brands and public figures that they’ve been mentioned. Instagram’s all-private or all-public approach to privacy, like Twitter has, means it doesn’t have to deal with the same subtleties that Facebook does when it comes to these settings.

Facebook roundup: board members, data centers, stickers, photos and more

facebook logoJim Breyer to leave Facebook board – Accel Partners venture capitalist Jim Breyer announced today that he is stepping down from Facebook’s board of directors in June after holding a seat since April 2005. Breyer was recently elected to the Harvard University Corporation Board. He also sits on the boards of Brightcove, Dell, News Corporation and Walmart. Facebook’s current board lineup includes Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Marc Andreessen, Erskine Bowles, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, Don Graham, Reed Hastings and Peter Thiel.

impactNew Facebook data center coming to Iowa – Facebook this week announced plans for a new data center in Altoona, Iowa. Altoona will be the company’s fourth owned and operated data center. Its others are in Prineville, Oregon; Forest City, North Carolina; and Luleå, Sweden. The facility will feature its Open Compute Project server designs, outdoor-air cooling system and other innovations to be more energy efficient. Facebook says it plans to break ground this summer and begin serving user traffic in 2014.


Stickers come to Messenger for Android – Facebook updated its Messenger for Android app this week to include support for the new stickers in chat. Stickers are larger emoji that are popular in Asian messaging apps like Line, KakaoTalk and WeChat. Facebook offers a number of sticker sets, which are available for free download from its mobile Sticker Store. This feature came to the main Facebook for iOS app last week, but it is not yet available for the main Android app or Messenger for iOS.

Facebook Home passes 500K installs – According to the Google Play Store, Facebook Home was download more than 500,000 times in the week since it launched. So far the app has only a two-star rating.

photosFacebook tries new image format – Facebook is testing a new WebP image format, which could make the site faster and reduce network costs, according to CNet. Now, when users upload JPEG images, Facebook converts them to WebP and delivers them this way to people using browsers like Chrome and Opera, which support the format. WebP, however, is not always compatible outside of the web, which means it is harder for users to download and share images they get from Facebook.

Facebook roundup: marriage equality, Zuckerberg, Goodreads, Nasdaq, smartphone research and more

equalityFacebook users change profile picture show support for same sex marriage – As the U.S. Supreme Court met this week to address same-sex marriage, the Human Rights Campaign encouraged users to change their profile pictures to an image of a pink equal sign on a red background in support of marriage equality. Since then, the image and hundreds of variations of it have gone viral across the social network. Facebook’s data science team found that there was a 120 percent increase in profile photo changes on Tuesday after the HRC launched its campaign compared to the previous Tuesday. More stats are available in a note here.

governmentReport: Zuckerberg gets political - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly involved in forming a political advocacy organization with other Silicon Valley executives, including Joe Green, co-founder of NationBuilder and Causes, who was Zuckerberg’s roommate at Harvard. The group is expected to work to influence issues related to immigration, education reform and the economy. Zuckerberg has reportedly pledged as much as $20 million to support the Super PAC.

goodreads1Amazon buys Goodreads – Amazon this week announced its plans to acquire Goodreads, a social reading community and book recommendation platform that integrates with Facebook’s Open Graph. The service will continue to operate under the Goodreads name and its CEO Otis Chandler. Amazon reportedly paid $150 million for Goodreads, which has 16 million members.

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