Facebook announces ‘Facebook phone’
Mark Zuckerberg announced yesterday that Facebook are launching a new app for Android called Facebook Home. This looks like the first step to tackle the problem that not enough people are using Facebook on mobile – and when they do how difficult it is to advertise to them.
The software puts Facebook’s communication services to the forefront of a users’ experience. At the launch, Zuckerberg spoke about how users see their lock screens around 100 times a day, Facebook Home is essentially the lock screen and the home screen combined. To comment, like and see updates you won’t need to swipe the screen, it will be there already.
Another feature will be ‘Chatheads’ which will allow users to switch to different conversations. If you are in an app and receive a message then a thumbnail of the user will appear that you can tap, reply to, then return to the app easily.
A lot of the things you do on mobile can be done through Facebook already, for example Instagram, news sites and Spotify, which means that through this app Facebook will be able to track users’ behaviour on devices closely. The assumption here is that the more Facebook can monitor what a user is doing, the more relevant and real life advertising can be.
Starting with an app and not trying to develop a device straight away allows Facebook to create something they can build off in the future if all goes well and if all goes wrong will not have too much impact. There will also be a phone developed by HTC and AT&T called HTC First that will have Facebook Home pre-loaded and pre-optimised.
Facebook Home can be downloaded from the Play store from April 12. The app is intended to be available for Tablet in the months after the Mobile launch.
Twitter develops Twitter cards
Twitter cards is the tool that allows rich media content (images, videos, reviews) to be displayed in-stream. They have quietly been developed, which is big for brands. Tweets can now be expanded to make engagement more meaningful, users can see a preview of the content in the tweet so they can take in the information without leaving the app, but if they decided to follow through and click they will know what to expect.
There are three main uses of the new Twitter cards – app, gallery and product. In tweets centering on apps, more information can be seen on price, reviews etc and link to stores the app is available from. Tweets linking to picture galleries can have cards that preview the pictures, informing the user that more than one image has been shared, and in turn allowing them to take in more of the images at once. If a Tweet involves a product, then the card can show an image, the description and two more pieces of information such as price or ratings, all in stream. This means that brands can now preview products for purchase to their followers through the app, instead of simply linking to another source. Which in turn should mean more sales and interaction with brands.
Linkedin make conversations easier
Linkedin have announced they are introducing a new way to talk to your connections on the site. Users now have the ability to mention companies or connections in conversations; this will make sharing information and expertise with your network easier. This can be done by typing the name of a connection or company in the status update box or a comment field in the home page. You can then select someone from the list of connections in the drop-down and then complete the status or comment before posting. The person or company you have mentioned will then receive a notification alerting them. A plus is that you can also mention other LinkedIn members that aren’t in your first-degree connections, for example other users that are having conversations in posts on the Linkedin home page. This ensures that when you are included in a conversation you can reply in real time. The feature is being rolled out across English-speaking members today.