Facebook updated its Android application for members of its beta testing group Monday, giving a sneak peek at features that could be made for all Android users in the future. One of the more notable features of this update is the ability to save photos directly from the Facebook mobile photo viewer.
Additionally, it has updated Facebook Home (for members of the test group) to make the status bar denoting notifications and battery life a permanent fixture atop the lock screen.
Millions of photos are posted to Facebook every day — some of which are widely shared and become viral. A recent comprehensive study by Facebook shows that roughly 5 percent of photos uploaded to the site are then reshared.
While that might not seem like much, Facebook Vice President of Infrastructure Jay Parikh noted in January that there are more than 240 billion photos on Facebook’s servers right now, with 350 million more added to the site each day. Facebook’s photo storage grows by 7 petabytes per month.
It’s the viral photos that account for most of the share activity. Facebook Data Scientists Alex Dow, Lada Adamic and Adrien Friggeri recently published a paper, presented at the International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, about the anatomy of a highly-shared photo. They discovered that photos that are shared at least once are shared an average of 14.8 times. The top 0.5 percent of shared photos (those with more than 500 shares over the span of two weeks) account for 50 percent of all reshare activity on the site.
The team examined two pictures: one posted by President Barack Obama of himself hugging First Lady Michelle Obama shortly after Obama’s re-election, and a photo posted by Petter Kverneng, a young Norwegian man hoping to get 1 million likes so his friend would have sex with him.
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.
(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.
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.
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 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.
As 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.
Google 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 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.