Facebook's new Messenger beta program is already making great strides with a jump to v4.0. You'll have to be in the beta program to get access, but it's quick to set up. Once opted in, you'll get to check out a few interesting new features in Facebook's chat app.
Facebook usually buys apps and various online services, but not today. The company has just announced that it has agreed to purchase Oculus VR, the company working on the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. The final price for the company was $2 billion ($400 million cash, $1.6 billion stock). That's 2 Instagrams, if you're keeping track.
Oculus VR has been the darling of the gaming realm ever since its wildly successful Oculus Rift Kickstarter, and just announced a second version of the Oculus Rift developer kit.
Ever since Google rolled out public beta applications through the Play Store, some of the biggest names in the game have jumped on board to essentially crowdsource bug discovery in upcoming releases. Among those that are now offering users access to early versions of its software is Facebook, which released a beta version of its primary application earlier this year. The company has now done the same with its Messenger application.
Last month Facebook bought WhatsApp for way too much money, making the app's developers very wealthy individuals. This deal, theoretically, gives Facebook access to the data provided by the app's nearly half a billion users. The companies behind the social network and the instant messenger have both promised that WhatsApp will continue to operate autonomously, but this hasn't completely alleviated privacy concerns. Thus WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum has shared a blog post aimed at "setting the record straight."
In it he states:
Facebook pushed an update to its Android app today that brings a handful of useful photo features, like the ability to post an image as a comment – something that's been available on the web for quite a while. Otherwise, you can now also delete and/or edit photo albums, untag yourself in photos, and upload multiple images at the same time. Group admins can now easier pin and unpin posts, as well.
Earlier this month Facebook celebrated its 10-year anniversary by introducing "Look Back" videos, bite sized glimpses at what each of us have shared on the social network over the years. Depending on how active a person you are on the site, these short clips may fill you with overwhelming nostalgia as you look back over time gone by. But Facebook's videos are capable of more than that - they can also serve as brief reminders of who you are and the kind of life you've lived, and they can do this even after you're gone.
Facebook's $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp was certainly yesterday's biggest story when it came to web and social news. But according to Amir Efrati of The Information, there's an interesting backstory that didn't make it into the financial pages. He reports that six months ago, Google offered to pay WhatsApp to notify the larger company if they received an acquisition offer from anyone else. While an exact amount hasn't been disclosed, the deal was reportedly worth "millions of dollars."
The Information's anonymous sources say that WhatsApp declined the offer - surely a hard pill to swallow for a startup company, even one with the fantastic number of users that WhatsApp boasts.
Your Facebook feed is about to get slightly less infuriating. No, your friends aren't going to spontaneously start believing the same things you do. Facebook has decided to end sponsored stories. Those are the posts that float to the top of your feed informing you that one of your friends has interacted with a brand or product on Facebook. Well, no more.