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Facebook promises to declutter Messenger app in 2018

Facebook caught some heat for pushing people to use the Messenger app a few years back, but that may actually have been a kindness. Messenger was a much better app than the main Facebook client. Although, over time Messenger has become rather bloated and clunky in its own right. The head of Messenger now admits the app is too cluttered, and changes are on the way.

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[Hands-on] Facebook Messenger Kids comes to Amazon's Fire tablets

Facebook has released its new Messenger Kids app to the Amazon App Store, making the service available to owners of its Fire line of tablets. So I grabbed one of the Fire 7 tablets we have for our kids and installed the app to see what it was all about, and just how well it works on Amazon's lowest-end hardware.

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Facebook is changing the news feed to bring you closer to the people you actually know in real life

Particularly for those who were around from the start, usage of Facebook might have waned in recent years. Considering it was originally intended to bring you closer to your friends and family, things are a bit different nowadays. Scroll through your news feed today and you'll likely find a mixture of memes, recipe videos, and adverts (in my case, anyway, but that will depend on what you like/follow), with just a smattering of posts from people you know IRL. The company's mission for 2018: put friends and family at the forefront once again.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined this renewed focus in a post on the site yesterday, where he said that feedback from users was at the heart of upcoming changes to the ranking system.

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In VR news: HTC announces VIVE PRO and wireless adapter, Oculus and Xiaomi introduce Oculus Go and Mi VR Standalone

Many companies are still trying to make VR happen, though it feels like those couple of years when 3D TVs were being pushed and then completely disappeared. If you ask me, there's merit to the immersive experience of VR in certain situations, but the wider and easier adoption will be for AR when it's commoditized. But I digress. We've been keeping an eye on HTC's VIVE and Oculus for a while, even though they're not technically related to Android, but for the sake of information here are the two companies' CES 2018 news.

HTC is introducing a few new things at CES.

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Google's Head of Product for Allo and Duo moves to Facebook

Amit Fulay served as a Product Manager at Google since 2010, most recently as Head of Product for Real-Time Communications. In other words, he was the head of Allo, Duo, WebRTC, and other projects within the company. Fulay announced on Twitter today that he has left Google, and now works at Facebook.

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Facebook kills its "M" virtual assistant

Facebook first announced its virtual assistant, simply named 'M,' back in 2015. It ran inside Facebook Messenger, and was apparently trained and supervised by real people. It started off as a limited test to residents of San Francisco, then Facebook rolled it out more widely last year.

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Facebook will use facial recognition technology to alert you when you show up in someone's photo

Everyone has a camera in their pocket now, and they all have places to post those photos on the internet. If you're a little sensitive about how often you show up in pics on the internet, Facebook has a new privacy tool that may interest you. Using facial recognition technology, Facebook can alert you to any photos in which you're visible regardless of whether or not you've been tagged.

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Facebook's Messenger Lite app hits the 100 million installs milestone

Many who've used Facebook's main or messaging apps over the years will be acutely aware of how resource and data-hungry they can be. Messenger Lite was a welcome addition when it was released on the Play Store back in October 2016, as it promised to solve both of those issues. The only problem at the time was that it was only launched in emerging markets.

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Facebook Messenger now lets you share photos at 4K resolution

Until now, the default resolution for images sent and received on Facebook Messenger was 2K. That's quite small in terms of megapixels, and anything higher you tried to send someone would be compressed by Messenger before sending. Facebook has just bumped the default image size up to 4K (up to just over 16MP) so you can now send photos of much higher quality to friends and family.

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Facebook joins Alliance for Open Media board as founding member

Like any organization set up by the Joint Development Foundation, the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) is a group of companies set up to collaborate on the introduction of a technological standard. In the case of AOMedia, its purpose is specifically to accelerate the development and adoption of a new video compression codec called AV1.

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