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.
A new high-fidelity streaming music service by Jay Z launches Monday. TIDAL was acquired by the rapper last month as part of a $56 million dollar deal with the Scandinavian platform Aspiro.
Full details of the service will be announced during a press conference on Monday. However, according to TIDAL’s website, it’s “the first music streaming service that combines the best High Fidelity sound quality, High Definition music videos and expertly Curated Editorial.”
There are two paid subscription options: $19.99 a month for high-fidelity audio, and $9.99 for standard quality audio. TIDAL can be streamed on the web, and downloaded for iOS and Android devices.
Several artists have already thrown their support behind TIDAL, changing their Twitter icons and Facebook Profiles to light blue and tweeting the hashtag #TIDALForAll. Among them, Rihanna, Calvin Haris, Kanye West and Jack White’s Third Man Records.
Facebook’s Messenger won’t just be for chatting with family and friends in the near future. The social network has unveiled a business feature for Messenger that lets you talk to a store about your orders. The option not only spares you from a flurry of email for receipts and shipping, but gives you an easy way to ask questions — if you want to change your order or add something new, you just open up the existing conversation. In theory, you don’t have to go through the hassles of calling or emailing customer service to solve a simple problem. The business effort will only start out with a handful of partners that includes Everlane, Zendesk and Zulily, but a sign-up program suggests that you’ll see Messenger used at more online shops before long.
In an effort to bring even more content to Oculus, Facebook has announced at its developer conference that it plans to bring spherical video content to its VR headset. There really isn’t a whole lot more information aside from that — how will people load these 360-degree videos? — but it’s an important step forward in enhancing the nascent VR platform. Additionally, Facebook also announced that it’ll begin to support these 360-degree videos embedded right in the News Feed, so you won’t need a headset to check them out if you don’t mind not having that whole VR thing.
In the past few months, Facebook has really ramped up the Messenger experience — you can add your location, apply stickers on photos and even use it for payments. Now, Facebook will let you customize your messages even further. That’s because Facebook has evolved Messenger into its own platform, which essentially means you can now integrate third-party apps into Messenger. Want to add GIFs from Giphy? Simply install the add-on, find the GIF you want and away you go. You’ll find many of these apps — there are apparently already 40 on board — in the compose window. And if a friend sends an image or video from one of these third-party apps and you don’t already have them installed, you’ll see an “Install” link on them so you can download them right then and there.
Facebook’s efforts on smaller screens are paying off big.
More than half a billion Facebook users access the site only from mobile devices, Facebook revealed as part of an earnings presentation Wednesday. The social network has 1.19 billion total mobile monthly active users, as of the end of 2014, up 26% year-over-year.
All that mobile traffic has meant a big advertising windfall for Facebook. The company made $3.59 billion from advertising overall in the fourth quarter of 2014, and 69% of that came from mobile ads rather than their desktop cousins. That means Facebook made nearly $2.5 billion on mobile ads in three months—a 53% improvement year-over-year. It was also the first quarter Facebook’s mobile ad revenue beat the $2 billion mark.
Strong mobile numbers like these are vital for Facebook and other companies with ad-based business models. Internet users are increasingly flocking from browsing on PCs, where banner ads have long reigned, to using mobile browsers and apps, where traditional online ads haven’t worked as well.
Facebook and companies like it have been working hard to figure out how to adjust and make mobile ads that will actually click. The latest of Facebook’s mobile experiments is a platform launched in October that lets brands tap into the social giant’s vast troves of user data to advertise to Facebook users while they’re in other apps.
As an example, a Facebook user playing Candy Crush might get served up an in-game ad for toothpaste based on the user’s Facebook activity. Advertisers benefit from getting access to Facebook’s data, while Facebook increases its ad revenue without putting more ads on its own products. While Facebook’s fourth-quarter numbers are clearly evidence the company’s own mobile app is doing just fine, they’re also a sign this new network is off to a speedy start.