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Now you can play games in your conversation threads within Facebook Messenger

Anyone remember the days of playing those silly Facebook games? Since the world has changed quite radically since the heyday of Zynga, it feels like that era was so long ago. Perhaps in a bit of nostalgia or an urge to incite over-competitiveness among friends, Facebook has rolled out games within the Messenger app.

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Android Auto integration with Facebook Messenger now available

Texting while driving can be extremely dangerous, but replying to messages with your voice is probably the safest way to do it. I've used Google Now (well, it's not called Now anymore) on my Nexus 5X countless times to send SMS and Hangouts messages while driving. Facebook today announced that the Facebook Messenger application for Android has added support for Android Auto.

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That annoying Chromecast notification is coming from the Facebook app - here's how to fix it

Over the past few days Android users have been noticing an annoying notification that pops up after using the Facebook app and watching any video. It says "Cast Device Not Connected," and includes a play and close button... and that's it. The notification opens the Facebook app when it's tapped, but the buttons don't do anything and it can't be dismissed with the usual swipe. The only way to kill the notification is to force close Facebook.

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Lifestage is Facebook's teen-only video profile app

While Facebook has around 1.7 billion users worldwide, not that many of these are teenagers, with most 13-19 year olds preferring Snapchat or Instagram (for, in my mind, obvious reasons). In an attempt to combat this, Facebook released Lifestage for iOS devices back in August, and now the Android app has just arrived.

Lifestage encourages users to upload pictures and videos based on their likes, dislikes, or feelings. These are then turned into video profiles which others can see. There is no privacy whatsoever on Lifestage - everything is public. Facebook is aiming the app at school communities - once a school has more than 20 users, other profiles are visible.

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Facebook introduces Recommendations, a formal way to get suggestions from your friends

As I have moved on from sharing my every move via Facebook, one of the most useful things I do on the platform nowadays is take advantage of the expertise of my friends. Finding a place to get lunch, identifying a dentist covered by my employer's insurance, and all manner of similar problems can be solved in part by soliciting suggestions from my social network. Facebook is now rolling out a feature called Recommendations that helps you make sense of your friends' input.

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Facebook adds support for casting videos from your phone or desktop

Google's casting platform has been around for a few years now, and Facebook has thus far ignored it. That changes today; after a small test of the feature earlier this year, Facebook has announced official support for casting videos from your phone or desktop. It looks a little different than you may be used to, though.

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Facebook at Work is now Workplace by Facebook, available for all companies

Over a year ago, Facebook began testing their internal communication tool, Facebook at Work, with a number of organizations. Not only has Facebook renamed the platform to 'Workplace by Facebook,' they are finally publicly releasing it. Starting today, any company can use Workplace.

In the same vein as Google+ for Work, Workplace tries to adapt social networks for internal use at businesses. Facebook's news feed, search, trending posts, live video, and more have all made the jump. Workplace also features unlimited file, photo, and video storage, monitoring tools, team and project groups, and Single-sign on (SSO) support. Integration with G Suite (the new name for Google Apps for Work), Okta, OneLogin, Ping, and Windows Azure AD is also supported.

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Facebook officially announces Marketplace, an easier way to buy and sell items locally

Facebook has been planning some form of a Marketplace feature for years. It was first announced in 2007, then didn't really happen. Finally in 2015 it began appearing for some iOS users, and earlier this year, on Android as well. Now Facebook has finally released the feature publicly, on Android and iOS alike.

Facebook has always had Groups specifically for buying/selling items locally, and Facebook reports that "more than 450 million" people visit these groups each month. The new Marketplace feature is simply a better way to do what people already use Facebook for. The new Marketplace tab is a welcome change from using Facebook Groups in terms of sorting; you can filter items by location, category, or price.

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[Update: APK Download] Facebook releases Messenger Lite, a cut-down version of Messenger for emerging markets

Facebook Lite was released early last year, and it's pretty good - it takes up less space than the regular Facebook app and consumes much less data. As a follow-up, Messenger Lite is now available, meaning phones in countries where data is thin on the ground and people with small amounts of storage can use Messenger as well.

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Facebook Messenger gains Direct Share on Marshmallow and above

Facebook Messenger, mostly just referred to as Messenger these days, (or "I'll send you a link on Facebook") has improved at a rate of knots over the last year or so. It's had a material overhaul, nicknames and color functions added, group calling, games, new emojis, SMS support, and probably a lot more. Today another new feature has arrived Messenger, especially for Android: Direct Share.

In my travels across the web, I've seen many people asking for this feature. Well, now it's here, and it works as well as you'd expect it to. Find a tweet, reddit post or comment, a link, anything that brings up Android's share menu, and if you're running at least version 88.0.0.11.69 or above (thanks, Alexander Sofinskiy), plus Android 6.0 Marshmallow or 7.0 Nougat, you should see your most-messaged people appear in the Direct Share menu above the apps.

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