Facebook Launches “Facebook Stories” – What’s Your Story?

There’s no doubt that Facebook has become a part of our lives today. We open our browsers, and one of the first things that we do apart from checking emails is login to Facebook to see what’s happening around your network of friends. Most of your experiences in life are shared on Facebook, and to make this experience of sharing your stories even better, Facebook is launching the site — FacebookStoreis.com — that aims at collecting stories from around the globe, with featuring different themes every month.

The new feature from Facebook is designed and created “to celebrate the different stories that are coming out of Facebook” users. In other words, the new Facebook Stores talks all about an individual and the experiences that one would like to share with their friends, relatives, and other users on the Internet.

Facebook spokesperson, Tucker Bounds, told ABC News that “the project started as a result of our seeing a number of stories coming into the company from different channels, including stories we would read about in the media. We wanted to create a place where we could celebrate great stories.”

How does Facebook Stories work?

According to Facebook, the new Facebook Stories will be updated monthly, featuring a story based on a theme, and an infographic.

For instance, if you visit the Facebook Stories site, you will see a video with the title “Remembering.” The story is about Mayank Sharma of New Delhi, India, who lost his memory due to tubercular meningitis. He shares his experience on how he used Facebook and how the social networking tool helped him rebuild his memory about the most important people in his life, his family, and friends.

However, not every story submitted by users will be featured. Facebook will pick only those stories that it finds interesting enough to feature it on the homepage. And after the end of that month, Facebook will post an infographic based on the theme of the previous story shared. For the launch, Facebook has shared the “Biggest Life Moments from Timelines” infographic, which shows the percentage of people who have travelled, moved, got married, and so on.

Back in 2010, Facebook had launched a similar Facebook application that asked users to share their stories with the other app users. However, the application is no more in function, and visiting it would give you the “Not Found” message. Basically, the new Facebook Stories is also a Facebook application.

To add your stories, click on the “Add Your Story” button, which will take you to the app permissions page. Once you’ve granted the permissions, you can write a brief description about your story, upload a video/photo, and submit it to Facebook. Facebook says that that the new Facebook Stories is “a separate effort from a different team.”

Facebook Rolling Out ‘Save for Later’ Feature

Over the years, Facebook has evolved from being just a place to share what you are doing and what is happening in your life to a destination for creating and sharing great content in addition to sharing snippets of your life. Every now and then, while browsing through the news feed, you will stumble upon a great link or an insightful note that you might want to read later. There are apps like Instapaper and Pocket that are meant for just this – saving pieces of content that you want to delve into at your leisure. They work fairly well when you are using Facebook on your desktop. However, having to constantly switch between Instapaper and Facebook apps on your smartphone can become annoying.

Facebook is now attempting to ease this pain point by introducing ‘save for later’ feature. The Verge has confirmed that Facebook will be adding a ‘Save’ button beneath every update. Clicking on the button will tuck away the update in a ‘Saved’ sub-folder under your favorites. This feature is also being rolled out to Facebook’s mobile apps, where it will perhaps be most appreciated.

Facebook-Save-for-Later

Saved stories are private, and can be easily unsaved with the tap of a button. As always, the update is being gradually rolled out to users. Once it is rolled out to your account, you should see a notification informing you about the new feature.

Google Acquires Wildfire, Social Marketing Startup

Google may be the juggernaut in the search advertising space, but Facebook poses a significant threat to it, with its new form of social advertising. While Google targets ads based on search queries by users, Facebook uses their social preferences, likes, shares, and other such data to target ads, which is arguably much more effective.

Today, Google acquired Wildfire, a social media marketing and advertising startup, which makes it easy for brands and companies to advertise on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and more.

The deal size is approximately $250 million, plus earnouts, according to AllThingsD. Wildfire has raised $14 million to date, and serves more than 16,000 customers including 30 of the top 50 global brands.

Google will likely integrate Wildfire’s social marketing/advertising platform with its search and display ad platform, enabling customers to manage their entire online advertising campaign from a single platform.

Google now offers ads across all categories — search, display, video, mobile, offline ads and social.

Google’ official press release said:

“In a complex and changing landscape, businesses want to manage and measure these efforts in an integrated way. We’ve been working towards this end for some time. For example, Google Analytics helps businesses measure the contribution of hundreds of social sites; our Admeld service has helped to serve ads in Facebook developers’ social apps; and our DoubleClick platform enables clients to run and measure ads across social websites. On Google+, brands use services like Vitrue, Buddy Media and others to manage their pages, with many more to come.

With Wildfire, we’re looking forward to creating new opportunities for our clients to engage with people across all social services. We believe that better content and more seamless solutions will help unlock the full potential of the web for people and businesses.”

Your Next Login to Facebook Might Leave You Surprised

If you’re still using the old Facebook profile layout, and haven’t made a switch to the new Timeline, then your next login to Facebook may surprise you, and might leave you wondering — “what happened?” That’s because Facebook is planning on rolling out the Timeline to all users.

When Facebook announced the new profile layout Timeline last year, it said that the new layout is a permanent change, and there’s nothing a user can do to avoid it. It also announced that within a few weeks, everyone will be upgraded to the new Timeline, regardless of whether they liked it or not.

However, many users who didn’t like the Timeline, protested saying that they wanted an option to opt-out of it. This forced Facebook to stop the automatic roll out of the feature to all users, and instead provided users with an option to adopt the redesign if they wanted. Many who enabled the Timeline just to try it out, were finding ways to disable it, or get back the old design. However, that wasn’t possible.

Now, the social media giant is looking to make the Timeline rollout a permanent change for all users. This time, no gimmicks. By this fall, Facebook has planned to automatically change the user profile layout to the Timeline as a part of its photo layout redesign earlier today, reports Tech Crunch.

Users on my friends list who were still using the old profile, were quite surprised to see the upgrade that was done without their knowledge:

Facebook Timeline roll out for all users

Also Read: Beware of “Disable or Remove Facebook Timeline” Scams

At the initial stages, you may find the new Timeline confusing and cluttered, however, several features that it offers is the reason why you will start loving the Timeline. Also, switching to Timeline will not change any of your Privacy Settings, instead you will have more control on what goes into your Timeline and who can view it. You can read this article on how to Protect Your Privacy in Facebook Timeline.

With the new Timeline, you can easily navigate to older posts with the timestamp provided on the right.  Additionally, the new Activity Log feature records all your activity on Facebook, which is only visible to you. We have posted an in-depth guide about Timeline. I recommended you to go through it and know all of its features.

Facebook Redesigns Photos With New Mosaic View

Yet again the social networking giant Facebook has announced a new look and feel for its photo layout, with a change that gives users a new photo viewing experience, and making photos appear larger and easier to interact with.

When you click on the “Photos” button link on top of your friend’s profile age, you will get the new mosaic photo view feature, which looks like this:

New Photo Layout - Facebook

The new layout it pretty neat, with photos arranged in random order. At the top, you will see the new menu comprising of three button — Photos of You, Photos, and Albums. Facebook says you can use the new menu to find the photos that you have been tagged in, pictures that you have shared, and different albums created by the user.

With all this, users on their own page can use the highlight feature to showcase their favorite photos, making it easier to show it to their friends. All you need to do is click the star button to make important photos stand out.

The new photo layout is mainly introduced to get more interaction on photos as users browse through them. Hovering over a photo will bring up the title, “like” and comment button, including the number of users who have “liked” and interacted with the photo.

Here’s the current view of the photo layout:

Facebook Albums

Facebook says that it has already started to roll out the new photo layout, and will be made available to all users soon.

Facebook has made several new changes in the recent past. We saw the newly designed Facebook Events, with the new calendar and list view. Also, the company has been testing a new design for its Timeline, in which the user information is placed on top of the cover photo.

Apple Looking to Invest in Twitter? Makes Sense!

Apple may be looking to make a strategic investment in Twitter, and has already discussed it with the social networking company in the last couple of months, according to a new report by NYT.

Apple tried to enter the social space with Ping last year, but that was one huge failure. Just like Microsoft has been struggling with Search, and has hardly been able to topple Google despite pouring in billions of dollars into its Online Services division, mentioning Apple and Social in the same sentence just doesn’t seem right.

Apple may have realized that social just isn’t in its DNA; after all no one company can do everything right. Apple considered investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Twitter at a valuation of around $10 billion earlier this year, but apparently the deal didn’t go through as planned.

It did, however, integrate Twitter into iOS during the launch of the iPhone 4S.

While Google has Google+, Microsoft has a strategic investment in Facebook and continues to partner with it for Bing and other endeavors.

Apple needs to be more social, and Twitter seems to be the right partner for it, as there seems to be no clash between their ambitions, which are clearly in different areas.

Apple has tons of cash, and while Twitter doesn’t really need any right now (it raised nearly $1 billion and is making progress with its advertising business), both companies need each other. Twitter has benefited greatly from integration with iOS and Mac OS X, and would like to maintain its relationship with Apple, which has also gotten a bit cozy with Facebook lately.

We’re not sure whether the talks are still on, but apparently, they’re not. However, Apple investing in Twitter makes a lot of sense, for both of them.

Facebook User Base Reaches 50 Million Mark in India

Back in 2010, Facebook started their first India operations office in Hyderabad, and the total number of user base in India was roughly around 8 million. Today, two years later, Facebook records that the Indian user base has increased to over 50 million in number.

According to latest reports, Kirthiga Reddy, director of online operations, Facebook India had confirmed to the media in an event organized by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce that, “the user numbers — eight million in 2010 and 50 million in 2012 — tell the growth story. India is one of the countries with the largest number of active users.”

This is an enormous growth for Facebook. The social networking giant is the world’s biggest social network, and is one of the most popular social media tool amongst the Indians. The new records makes India one among the other countries with such a huge number of active users.

 Kirthiga Reddy, Director of Online Operations, Facebook India

The most fascinating thing about this statistic is that an increasing percentage of users access the social site from their mobile phones, which should be pretty convincing enough for Facebook to rethink its business model for India.

For other countries like the US, Kirthiga Reddy states that, “many started using Facebook on desktop, which was first used to get in to the portal, in case of India it was the mobile phone. Most of the 50 million Facebook users are on mobile. Realising this, we have launched Facebook (application) for every phone.”

This could probably get Facebook to bring innovative services via mobile to its Indian user base. One of the highly anticipated services was to make Facebook available in regional languages like Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, and so on.

However, Facebook’s biggest concern is about the age restriction policy, which does not allow children below 13 years of age to use the social networking site. With an increasing number of school kids joining Facebook, it has become a challenging task for the team to take strict actions, however, Kirthiga says that they are coping up with that.

Facebook is also taking up education initiatives for children and parents in order to understand how the network works and how parents can prevent their children from misusing it: “Facebook is like any other medium. When we were growing up, our parents used to tell how much time we should spend watching TV. The same applies for internet too. It is about what you do with the medium,” she said.

Yet another concern for Facebook is the Indian government. In the recent past, we had seen the government of India taking control over social networks and asking them to block certain contents from being posted on their networks. The government has provided certain protocols and requests in order to regulate the network. However, Kirthiga didn’t share the exact number of requests.

Recently, Facebook associated with FICCI in India to help local businesses benefit from the network, which could again help the networking giant get more number of users to the site.

Mark Zuckerberg Says “Facebook Phone” Makes No Sense

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed in a statement that the company is not planning to step into the hardware world, and is not interested in developing its own version of mobile phone.

During the company’s first-ever quarterly earnings after the it went public, Zuckerberg stated in a statement that the company is not planning on a “Facebook Phone.” When Zuckerberg was asked whether the company needs a mobile device of this own, the CEO said, Facebook is “the most used app on basically every mobile platform. So when we think about what we want to do right now, we want to increase the depth of experience in addition to just growing users.”

He then went on to say that Facebook doesn’t really fit into the hardware world, and developing a mobile device makes no sense – “There are lots of things that you can build in other operating systems as well that aren’t really like building out a whole phone, which I think wouldn’t really make much sense for us to do. So I do think that there’s a big opportunity for us here.”

Mark Zuckerberg

However, Zuckerberg’s statement doesn’t mean that the company will help OEMs, like HTC, to build a smartphone with deeper Facebook integration than the current Android smartphones. Currently, Facebook is working on a deeper integration in iOS device, which enables Facebook users to directly login to Facebook-integrated apps without having to create new accounts.

Although Mark Zuckerberg ruled out the possibility of a “Facebook phone”, Facebook is looking forward to work closely with existing operating systems such as Apple’s iOS. Just before he said the above statements, Zuckerberg said, “We want to support a development ecosystem where other apps can build on top of Facebook.”

Regardless of what Zuckerberg has said, mobile phone is something that is currently the most important thing for Facebook. Facebook users spend a lot of time in Facebook apps. In the Q2 financial results, Facebook revealed that Mobile Monthly Active Users (MMAU) have increased rapidly to 543 million with people showing 67 percent year-over-year growth.

With such a huge growth in mobile users, Facebook is still looking out for a good way to monetize its growing mobile audience.

Earlier this week, Facebook said in an official statement:

“Our mobile strategy is simple: We think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social. We’re working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers to bring powerful social experiences to more people around the world.”

What we could see is a smartphone with better Facebook integration across Android and iOS devices, however, a “Facebook phone” is not something we can expect anytime soon.

Facebook Reports $1.18b in Q2 Revenue, Earning $0.12 Per Share

Facebook has just reported its second quarter financial results, which includes revenues of $1.18 billion, and earning per share of $0.12. This is Facebook’s first-ever quarterly earnings after the company went public with its IPO in May 2012.

Analysts expected that the Q2 revenue figure would be $1.15 billion, which is slightly lesser than what is announced, and shows a 32 percent year-over-year growth. Facebook’s EPS, however, was right in-line with the mean of analysts’ estimates for the quarter. Facebook posted a net loss for the quarter of $157 million.

Facebook Q2 2012 Revenue Report

The $992 million revenue is Facebook’s highest ever revenue earning in advertising, while the $192 million revenue was generated from payments and other fees, mostly selling Facebook credits.

Second Quarter 2012 Operational Highlights

  • Monthly active users (MAUs) were 955 million as of June 30, 2012, an increase of 29% year-over-year.
  • Daily active users (DAUs) were 552 million on average for June 2012, an increase of 32% year-over-year.
  • Mobile MAUs were 543 million as of June 30, 2012, an increase of 67% year-over-year
Updated:

Shares have hammered Facebook’s Q2 earnings. From its release:

“For the second quarter, GAAP loss from operations was $743 million, compared to income from operations of $407 million for the second quarter of 2011. Excluding share-based compensation and related payroll tax expenses, non-GAAP income from operations for the second quarter was $515 million, compared to $477 million for the second quarter of 2011.”

Facebook also announced that the social networking site closed the second quarter with 955 million monthly active users (MAUs), which is an increase of 29 percent year-over-year. Also, the site had over 552 million daily active users — a 32 percent year-over-year. Mobile monthly active users on the other hand increased rapidly to 543 million people showing 67 percent year-over-year growth.

Facebook Q2 2012 MAU

Facebook has also reported the average revenue per user that it earned during the second quarter. U.S and Canada topped the list with Facebook earning nearly $3.20 per user, while Europe is second on the list with $1.43 per user. Asia, on the other hand showed disappointing results, with generating just $0.55 per user.

Worldwide, the average revenue generated per user for this year’s Q2 is $1.28, which is a little less than the Q1 record of $1.21. However, Q4 of 2011 has been the highest ever for Facebook with $1.38 per user.

Facebook launched several new mobile products, including:

  • A new Facebook Camera app for iPhone
  • An improved version of the mobile messenger app for both iOS and Android, and several updates to the Facebook Android app.
  • Launched global App Center where users can discover relevant apps for mobile and web.
  • Apple announced plans for a deep Facebook integration throughout the next version of Apple’s iOS and OSX.

“Our goal is to help every person stay connected and every product they use be a great social experience,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. “That’s why we’re so focused on investing in our priorities of mobile, platform and social ads to help people have these experiences with their friends.”

Facebook opened at $27.77 on Thursday after the social networking’s top game-maker Zynga, posted disappointing Q2 earnings. Facebook shares closed at $26.84 for the day. Zynga blamed the fall in its Q2 financial due to the recent changes to the Facebook platform.

Facebook Launches the ‘Recommendations Bar,’ a New Social Plug-in

Facebook has launched a new social plugin for the site called the Recommendations Bar, which helps people filter and find articles based on the “likes” made by their friends. The little bar pops up from the bottom-right of the screen while you’re reading an article and reach the end of it.

Facebook announced the Recommendations bar last year during its f8 conference, and today it has officially launched it. The new plugin works the same way as the current “Like” button; when a user “likes” an article using the Recommendations Bar, the story is posted back on the user’s timeline and friends’ news feed.

Facebook Recommendations Bar

“As a person reads an article, a small pop-up surfaces at the bottom of the screen highlighting recommended articles and prompting them to like the page,” writes Facebook engineer Jeffrey Spehar on the company blog.

For developers and site owners, the integration of the new plugin is pretty simple. All you need to do is copy the provided code from here, and paste it on your site. The functionality is also available as part of the Facebook for WordPress plug-in. However, it is recommended that you use Facebook’s Open Graph mark-ups on your articles for the new Facebook plugin to work correctly.

This is very much similar to the WordPress plugins, upPrev and nrelate Flyout. These plugins are used by site owners to increase, or accelerate more page views, and avoid heavy bounce rates. Many sites, including MashableWetpaint, and The Mirror have replaced the current flyouts with the new Recommendations Bar. In early tests, Facebook reports that sites are seeing 3x the click through on the stories it recommends than through the Recommendations Box.

To learn more and get started with the Recommendations Bar, you can check out the documentation provided by Facebook.