Engadget RSS Feed - Weekly Technology Technology TechnologyOne chip to rule them all? Users of Facebook’s iOS app will now have the option to create an entirely new type of post, called a Music Story, which lets friends listen to a 30-second clip of a song streamed from either Apple Music or Spotify. Music represents yet another frontier for Facebook, which has previously invested heavily in video and fast-loading Instant Articles to boost engagement. Facebook is in full damage control mode this week, following a brewing scandal over whether or not the Trending Topics it surfaces are politically biased.
In a Facebook post published Thursday night, Zuckerberg said Facebook has found no evidence that its employees have been intentionally suppressing conservative content in its Trending Topics section, as was alleged in a recent report.
Still, he said the company would launch a full investigation to ensure that there’s been no foul play.
Facebook is no stranger to politics, but most often, that relationship has involved Facebook lobbying Washington for changes that would be beneficial to its business, because powerful as Facebook is, it still needs government’s help to grow. But the perception that such a thing is happening would be just as big a threat to Facebook, which millions of people trust to deliver them the news they need and want to read.
Since the initial report was released, Facebook has published its guidelines for Trending Topics, and to us, at least, these guidelines look less like Facebook is doing anything nefarious and more like Facebook is, well, exercising news judgment because, whether it admits as much, Facebook is now in the news business.
Facebook Messenger wants to be so much more than a messaging platform for you and your friends. To keep you from ever leaving Facebook, it wants to be the place where you shop and track your packages. The service announced today will initially be available in 11 US cities, including San Francisco, New York, Miami, and Washington, DC, among others. And at first glance, the alliance would seem more beneficial to Lyft, which gains access to, presumably, a non-trivial portion of Facebook Messenger’s more than 800 million monthly active users. But for Facebook, every such partnership is just one more way to let people get things done in the real world via Facebook.
To help advertisers along, the company said today a few new features today that it will now include automated captions for videos.
This is important because the company says that most video ads are indeed watched without sound. Captions, meanwhile, can help give you context when you’re scrolling through your silent feed. For Facebook, video has become an increasingly important part of how you experience the service.
This is not the first time advertisers have grappled with how we watch ads on social media. One billion people are now using WhatsApp, the mobile messaging service that Facebook acquired little more than two years ago in a deal valued at $19 billion. WhatsApp and Facebook announced their one-billion-user milestone this afternoon in a blog post.
WhatsApp is relatively unpopular in the US, even though it was founded in Silicon Valley by two ex-Yahoo engineers, Jan Koum and Brian Acton.
Koum, Acton, and company have also added voice-calling to the app, letting people make calls over the Internet rather than through carriers. The idea is that you’ll use WhatsApp to make restaurant reservation, book plane flights, and the like.


Opening up access to all iPhone users (don’t worry, Android support is coming at some point) makes sense for Facebook on several fronts.
When you add the global reach of social media, bad manners and bad behaviour gets amplified. Staying in touch with your eLearning team and hosting winning webinars can be a costly endeavor, especially for Instructional Design professionals who work remotely and hold frequent events. Listening to the various politicians at the moment you would think that we all face some existential crisis.
Three women enjoying a quiet dinner in Santa Monica Thursday night went from their cheese platter to heroically thwarting an alleged date rape attempt. Before we had the internet we had to pop the roll of film in the post and wait for them to be developed and posted back, or nip off to the high street to have them developed.
We’d spend an age recording songs from CDs or (even further back) vinyl for friends and crushes. Microsoft has given their recovering search engine a new look by rolling out a new search result page for the Bing search engine. New look really improves searching with a cleaner and an easy to find result page without all the unnecessary things. You could post a YouTube clip of a song you like if you wanted your friends to actually hear it, or more likely just connect with Spotify to let your friends and acquaintances follow your every aural obsession, bouncing them to Spotify if they wanted to listen along. Being able to give people song samples and to let them save or buy those songs, all without leaving the app, should help capture some of that attention.
Then, the editorial team vets those topics to make sure that, for instance, they’re cited by multiple trustworthy sources and are tied to real events. It wants to be where you can get mundane tasks done using its artificial intelligence-powered personal assistant called M.
By next week, Lyft and Facebook say you’ll be able to call a Lyft on Messenger throughout the US. If you can accomplish everything you need to get done in Facebook, why leave Facebook at all? To make that possible, workers have transcribed over 50,000 video ads, Facebook says, to help train the captioning tool to become more accurate over time. Facebook says that including captions on video ads increases the amount of time people spend watching them. In fact, we noted that during the Super Bowl, a few ads seemed to have been made with the specific idea of working both on your TV as well as your phone.
If you leave out apps that Google and its partners bundle with Android phones, this milestone likely makes WhatsApp the second-most popular app on Earth after the primary Facebook app. But across Europe and South America as well as in developing economies in Africa and India, it has proven to be an enormously popular way of sending and receiving messages, images, and video without paying steep texting fees to local wireless carriers. And like Facebook’s own messaging app, Facebook Messenger, it may eventually offer video calling.
Thanks to the Facebook acquisition, they have ample runway, but the particulars of their business model are still evolving. It’s a market that Facebook is also exploring through Messenger, and that an app called WeChat has already mastered in China.
It helps keep livestreaming upstarts like Periscope and Meerkat at bay, while also increasing engagement time on Facebook itself, as people stick around to record and watch little doses of daily life.


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The Donald and Bernie are telling anyone who will listen that everything is being stolen by the elite and it's time to do some pitchfork waving about it.
We definitely couldn’t Whatsapp to say we were running late or change the meeting place. We certainly couldn’t record a whole series with one click or stream EastEnders when we felt like it. Travelling further afield and with no GPS, we’d have to plan our route… on a paper map!
UK, publisher of Life Death Prizes and other iconic brands about its goods and services, and those of its carefully selected third parties. They have removed all the colorful results with those buttons and links and replaced it with a minimalist design, which really reminds me of  the old Google search results page.
We talk about geeky creations, weird incidents, funny LOL stories as well as latest of technology, gaming, gadgematic, and social news. Any indication that that important communication channel is being tampered with can feel like an existential threat. For Facebook, this kind of transparency is key, and arguably, should have been a matter of public knowledge from the beginning.
Advertisers will also be able to review and edit the automated captions before posting the video ads.
The company also recommends that advertisers show captions, logos, and products in ads, especially in the first few seconds. Video is also favored by advertisers, who are willing to pay more to serve up targeted video ads than, say, banner ads. And in places where mobile infrastructure is thin, like India, it provides a viable alternative to social networks like Facebook. Two weeks ago, the company dropped its $1-a-year subscription fee (which only kicked in after one, anyway), saying it planned to make money through businesses that use the app to communicate with consumers. You no longer need to be famous to broadcast your life to all your friends and casual acquaintances.
You can see the names of friends who are watching, and they can comment on just how deftly you’re scrambling those eggs. It also underscores just how important video has become to Facebook; the company said yesterday that its customers already watch 100 million hours of video every single day. We’ll probably never again have a time like 1983 when over 30 million people watched Den divorce Angie on the EastEnders Christmas episode. To help advertisers figure out how to best capture you attention (and, ahem, pay Facebook), the company is also rolling out new metrics to let advertisers, for example, see the percentage of people who have viewed their ads with sound. If all goes according to plan, the next 100 million will come from videos they create themselves.




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