The latest app to join the rather exclusive 1 billion club on Google Play is... drumroll please... Instagram. This is quite surprising when estimates only put the number of accounts at 500 million, but I guess the downloads counter doesn't differentiate between unique installs or not. Either way, it scares me that Facebook owns the two biggest social networks in the world.
After the Facebook app, then WhatsApp, then Messenger, Instagram is the fourth of Facebook's apps to get 1 billion installs. Again, scary. Getting 1 billion installs is no easy feat - especially since at the last count Android only had 1.4 billion users. Read More
A few months after WhatsApp started encrypting all conversations by default, and a few weeks after Facebook announced encryption was coming to Messenger too, Facebook has turned on the security feature, with 'Secret Conversations' available to beta testers of the app.
Secret Conversations do have a few caveats users should probably be aware of. They are not turned on by default, and neither is end-to-end encryption. A normal Messenger conversation can be made secret by a toggle - more on that in a minute - and these conversations will be encrypted. Read More
In the elite club of internet services with enough penetration to reach about 1/7th of the earth's population, members are few and far between. But now Facebook Messenger can say that it has earned the badge that gives it access to this exclusive circle. After getting to 1 Billion installs on the Play Store a year ago, Messenger is now boasting, for real, 1 Billion monthly active users.
Whatsapp, the other Facebook-owned chat service, got to 1 Billion monthly active users several months ago, in February, so Messenger is still playing catch-up with its in-house rival, but I'm sure Facebook is not crying over the friendly competition going on between these two. Read More
Approximately 98% of the videos posted on Facebook are ripped YouTube clips with annoying, aspect ratio-destroying text on the top and bottom, stolen and reposted by some radio station in Ohio that's desperate for social media "engagement." Even so, if you really want to save those videos, the Android app now lets you do so. Kinda. One of our readers spotted the new user interface features and the "Saved" video section in the app, but that word doesn't mean the same thing to Facebook as it does to other folks. Read More
Facebook isn't the first company you think of when privacy comes to mind. Nor is it second, third, or anywhere near the top dozen. It's lucky if it's anywhere on the list at all. But the company does own WhatsApp, the widely used instant messenger that started encrypting all messages earlier this year. Now Facebook is testing out that same encryption in Messenger. Read More
Facebook announced an all-new layout for its Messenger app today (presumably for Android and iOS, though only iOS screenshots were provided). The new "home" area in Messenger is designed to make the app more than just a dumb message hub, and much more of a "Facebook people I care about" hub. Instead of simply being a list of chats, Messenger will now show you your favorite contacts, upcoming birthdays (because Facebook), and who's online now. Recent chats will still sit at the top of the "home" area in the app, there just won't be as many living there anymore. Read More
We're probably all used to the panorama or photospheres we can take on our phones these days - compared to a normal photo, both are just so much more immersive. Facebook's obviously picked up on this, and is rolling out support for 360 photos on the web, Android, and iOS via its 'Facebook 360' initiative.
Looking at the 360 photo of the Supreme Court from The New York Times, the viewing experience is really good - tilting the phone alters the viewpoint of the picture, moving it smoothly and cleanly on my Nexus 6P. Functionally, they appear to be the same as what you'd see in the Google Photos app or on the web, but there's something about having the feature on Facebook that just makes it seem more real, more mainstream. Read More
A few months ago, it appeared SMS support was being tested in the Facebook Messenger app, with some sporadically seeing SMS show up in the settings, allowing them to turn it on. It seemingly disappeared, though, with no trace left for many people. Now, however, it's back in the latest beta for Messenger.
The implementation is a little different compared to before. To enable SMS, you don't go through Messenger's settings but Android's settings (I assume the process will be different on anything less than Marshmallow, but I don't know how). Head over to Settings > Apps > Advanced (the little cog in the top right) > SMS app and enable it there. Read More
Facebook appears to be testing a new option in its Android app among some users that will make the app use less of your precious geebees. However, it doesn't appear to be anything beyond a simple photo resolution switcheroo, reducing the size of images that appear in your News Feed so that downloading them consumes less data. Interestingly, the toggle for the feature is positioned directly at the top of Facebook's labyrinthine sidebar menu, which is prime real estate. It's possible a wide rollout implementation would see this feature nested down in the settings area, though, and that this current placement is simply an attempt to maximize engagement with the toggle among users with whom it is being tested. Read More
Facebook's Marketplace keeps surfacing in the news every few years. The feature was originally announced in 2007, then re-appeared in 2015, and was most recently spotted on iOS last month. And now it's showing up for users of the Android app.
The Marketplace is Facebook's way of tapping into local buying and selling. Right now, there are plenty of Facebook groups that offer you the option to list your used or new items for sale with a price, pictures, and get comments and messages from others about purchasing them. But the option is confined within Facebook's own group limitation: your messages are separate from your sales and as a buyer, you can't see all the items available for purchase around you unless you join and visit each group separately. Read More