After one year of acquiring mobile messaging service WhatsApp, Facebook has begun testing a new feature in its ‘Facebook for Android’ app that includes the first major integration of WhatsApp.
The social networking site has added a ‘Send’ button with the familiar WhatsApp icon as a part of the status actions buttons that appear under each status update.
The new button appears on the right side (for left-to-right languages) for some users in the most recent version of the Facebook for Android app, the Geek Time reported.
This move appears to be the first step towards connecting the two platforms in order to sustain growth and take control of the messaging market together.
According to reports, teams are already working on a deeper integration that will include the ability to send messages between Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
WhatsApp, which last said it had 700 million monthly active users, and was acquired by Facebook for over $20 billion in February last year. Facebook Messenger now has 600 million monthly active users.
Facebook has just revealed its first television commercial for Facebook Home, which is set to hit your television sets soon. The commercial is titled “Airplane” and it centers around a man who livens up his business trip by bringing his friends “on the journey with him”. Every time he scrolls across his Cover Feed, someone will appear, whether its his friends in the overhead luggage compartments, drag queens popping up all around him, or his nephew smothered in chocolate cake.
The commercial also shows off the upcoming AT&T exclusive HTC First, which will come with an embedded version of Facebook Home. The embedded version of Facebook Home features minor differences to the downloaded version, with the main difference being better app notifications integrated into the Cover Feed feature. The HTC First itself is a low-to-mid ranged phone that you will be able topurchase for $99 on a new two-year contract with AT&T. If you want the phone, but don’t want Facebook Home, you can check out our guide to de-programming the embedded Facebook Home launcher.
Facebook Home follows Mark Zuckerberg’s philosophy that phones should revolve around people, and not apps. It brings your friend’s closer to you through features like the Cover Feed as well as Chat Head Messaging, which lets you message your friends even while you’re in another app. It will also have Instagram-like features where you can double-tap a photo to like it.
Both HTC First and Facebook Home are set to be released on April 12th. You can download the Facebook Home app for free from the Google Play store. The app will bring all of your friend’s status updates and photos to the forefront of your Android device, but how many of us actually want that? We should know once the app launches
Well, it isn’t exactly a Facebook phone, but it has the capability of turning any Android smartphone into one. We’re talking about the new Facebook Home, which just got announced officially. Simply put, it is an Android launcher – replacing the stock interface of an Android device it is installed on with a new one, built around Facebook social networking from the ground up.
As Mark Zuckerberg himself puts it, Facebook Home is designed around people instead of prioritizing apps like other phone interfaces do. By doing so, the software aims to deliver a more personal experience to Facebook users. At the same time, it should be easy to use with its minimalist, simple interface. As soon as the phone is turned on, the user’s list of notification appears with their profile picture at the bottom. Need to dismiss something? Then all it takes is a swipe to the side. A swipe up brings the list of all installed applications.
Something that’s unique to Facebook Home is the Chat Heads feature (and no, we aren’t making that name up). When you’re in a chat with someone, it puts an icon with their picture in the screen’s corner for quick and easy access. There is even a counter that shows how many lines of text you’ve missed.
Facebook Home will be available only on select smartphones at first, but it should spread to many more after its release. That includes both smartphones and tablets. April 12 is the day when Facebook Home will land on the Play Store.
HTC First announced, coming exclusively to AT&T on April 12th for $99.99
Continuing its obsession with the number one, HTC has officially announced the First, an Android device with a bit more Facebook influence than most other smartphones we’ve used in the past — including other handsets given preferential treatment from the social media network during the last four years. HTC’s Peter Chou and AT&T’s Ralph de la Vega took the stage at the event to announce the phone, which is the world’s first Home-optimized device. What exactly that means remains to be seen, but HTC’s Chou indicated it will be a “unique experience.”
There were no specs announced for the device, other than it having LTE, of course. But, earlier leaks have indicated it will be 4.3-inch, 720p mid-range phone, not threatening the HTC One by any stretch of the imagination. It will be available on April 12th exclusively in the US on AT&T for just $99.99
Facebook has a very strange way of updating its apps. The Facebook Messenger app got the update to include voice messages a few weeks ago, but that feature is just now getting folded into the main Facebook app as well. The Facebook for Android app has gotten a couple of other updates as well as voice messages, but unfortunately, voice calling is not one of them.
Since the update is to the main Facebook app, the other updates don’t apply to
communication. With this update, it has been made faster to open and few photos, and even better, you can now re-share your friends’ stories to timelines, pages, and groups. It’s a bit surprising that last feature didn’t exist until now. It has been possible to re-share stories to your own timeline, of course, but not to other people’s timelines, pages, or groups.
Facebook is pushing Android, and pushing it hard. The campaign stemmed from an initiative earlier this summer to entice, and sometimes force employees to use the Facebook app on Android in order to make improvements to the Android Facebook app.
We know there is no shortage of strong opinions about iOS vs. Android. Regardless of those arguments, the Facebook app for iOS is outstanding, and by just about any measure a superior execution compared to its Android cousin (and other platforms). Facebook knows this, and it is part of the reason why the iPhone has so much traction with its employees.
Facebook has enhanced its campaign to get employees to make the switch to Android by posting propaganda posters around its Menlo Park, California campus. It calls on employees to ‘droidfood (Andrdoid and dogfood), which means to get employees to use Facebook on Android, test it, live it, and eat it (testing your own programs, hence eating your own dog food).
The push to make a switch will take some time to make a dent, given carrier contracts and the company’s own propensity to offer iPhones in the past. So for now, Facebook is still heavy on the iOS side, and officially the company is not recommending one or the other, but the campaign is taking hold. The whole goal is to get employees testing the next generation Android apps and bring parity with its iOS counterpart.
One of the new features to help evaluate apps that are in beta testing is called “Rage Shake.” It allows employees to just shake the device, it logs the current disposition of the app and device and it sends it to the mobile app developers. Facebook has about 4,000 employee testers, so that test feature streamlines the flow of information coming in which, in turn, will mean big improvements to the Facebook app for Android down the road.