Tag Archive | "facebook-messenger"

Play Chess via Facebook Messenger?

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You can use Facebook Messenger to send messages, photos, videos or money, and even to secure a ride from Uber, but did you know you can also play chess on the application?

First detailed on Reddit in December, and never announced by Facebook, Messenger users can type @fbchess play during conversations to bring up a chess board.

The stealth chess game does not support drag-and-drop functionality, but BetaNews provided instructions, saying that players should select the piece they want to move as follows:

  • King: K
  • Queen: Q
  • Bishop: B
  • Knight: N
  • Rook: R
  • Pawn: P

They must then determine the square on the board that they choose to move the piece to, and enter the move similar to the following example: @fbchess Pd3.

According to Mashable, the game also features commands for offering a draw (@fbchess draw offer), undo (@fbchess undo) and resign (@fbchess resign).

Help is available by typing @fbchess help.

Readers: Shall we play a game?


Chess image courtesy of Shutterstock. Image of chess on Facebook Messenger courtesy of Mashable.

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F8 2016 Registration Is Open

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Registration is now open for Facebook’s global developer conference, F8 2016, which will be held at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco April 12 and 13.

F8 will feature new product introductions, as well as more than 40 sessions geared toward developers and publishers.

Facebook offered an overview of what to expect from this year’s F8 in a blog post by director of platform product Deborah Liu:

  • Keynote: Hear from co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg about how Facebook is helping developers build, grow and monetize success, and where we’re headed in the future.
  • 40-plus sessions: Attend talks from Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Oculus, Instagram, advertising, engineering and more—there’s content for everyone across Facebook’s family of applications and services.
  • Interactive demos: Experience our immersive products for yourself with hands-on demos featuring Oculus Rift and Touch, 360 video and more.
  • Innovation lab: Learn how we plan to improve connectivity, enhance infrastructure and scale artificial intelligence and virtual reality around the world.
  • Meet the Facebook team: Connect with our engineers and product experts for one-on-one personalized support to learn how you can grow and optimize your app business.
  • After party: Join us for a fun after party at the end of the first conference day, and enjoy music, food and drinks while getting to know other developers.

Media partnerships director Nick Grudin noted the additional focus on media and publishers at F8 in a Facebook Media blog post:

This year, we are expanding our media and publisher sessions to share more insights into our products and tools designed specifically for publishers, along with sharing best practices for connecting with your audiences on Facebook.

The preliminary agenda for F8 2016 is available here, and for those unable to attend, the keynote, sessions and exclusive live interviews will be video-streamed here.

Readers: What new products do you expect Facebook to introduce at F8 2016?

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Crypter Encrypts Your Facebook Chats For Maximum Security

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Facebook, Instagram Ban Private Sales of Guns Via Their Networks

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E-commerce via Facebook and Instagram has been soaring of late, but the social network and its photo- and video-sharing network are aiming to disarm private sales of guns via their services.

The New York Times reported that the social networks added private, person-to-person sales of guns to a list of prohibited sale items that already included marijuana, pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs, adding that licensed gun dealers and gun clubs are still permitted to post on Facebook and Instagram.

The Times pointed out that while Facebook and Instagram were not directly involved in gun sales, the two social networks were being used to negotiate sales, minus background checks.

Facebook told the Times it would rely on users reporting violations on Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger, adding that violators could face limits on their ability to post or bans, and that law enforcement would be notified “if the company believed someone’s life was in danger.”

Facebook head of global product policy Monika Bickert told the Times:

Over the past two years, more and more people have been using Facebook to discover products and to buy and sell things to one another. We are continuing to develop, test and launch new products to make this experience even better for people and are updating our regulated goods policies to reflect this evolution.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman praised the move by Facebook, telling the Times:

Today’s announcement is another positive step toward our shared goal of stopping illegal online gun sales once and for all.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America founder Shannon Watts agreed, telling the newspaper:

We were saying, “Please stop the unfettered access to guns on Facebook.” What they’re doing is sending such an incredibly strong, sentinel signal to the world that America is working in the right direction on guns. For them to take a stand and do the right thing gives cover to other businesses to do the right thing.

Readers: What do you think of the move by Facebook and Instagram to clamp down on private sales of guns via their networks?


Image of “no guns” sign courtesy of Shutterstock. Image of gun group on Facebook courtesy of The New York Times.

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Opportunities in Asia for WhatsApp (Infographic)

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Latin America is a stronghold for WhatsApp, while North America presents a weak spot, but the biggest opportunity for the Facebook-owned messaging application may be in Asia.

GlobalWebIndex shared the infographic below showing WhatsApp usage by region, and GWI said in an email to SocialTimes:

WhatsApp has already made substantial progress in Latin America and the Middle East, where around two-thirds of internet users are now WhatsApping. In contrast, North America has always been a problem for WhatsApp, with Facebook Messenger being the dominant messaging service.

But it’s in Asia where WhatsApp’s free model could bring the biggest increases. Leaving aside China, where WeChat is in total control, WhatsApp can claim 35 percent usage rates across the rest of the region – a decent figure, certainly, but one that shows how much room there is for further expansion.


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Report: Apple App Store Generates Record 5.5 Billion Downloads in Q4 2015

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App store optimization company Sensor Tower has released it Q4 2015 Data Digest, analyzing app downloads, revenue and monetization on Apple’s App Store. According to the report, Q4 2015 was the biggest quarter ever for the App Store, with 5.5 billion unique downloads and $3.3 billion in revenue generated from Oct. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2015.

For this digest, only one download per person was counted. That is, even if a single user downloaded the same app on multiple devices, or deleted and re-downloaded an app, only one download would count. For revenue, Sensor Tower combined the initial purchase price of apps with any revenue generated through in-app purchases.

Measuring data from 84 countries, Sensor Tower found Facebook Messenger and Facebook were the No. 1 and No. 2 most downloaded apps for the quarter, respectively, followed by YouTube, WhatsApp Messenger and Instagram in the top five. In the U.S. specifically, Facebook Messenger, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Smashy Road: Wanted placed in the top five for downloads in Q4 2015.


Meanwhile, the highest grossing app in the U.S. for the quarter was Game of War: Fire Age, followed by Clash of Clans in second place. These games were followed by Candy Crush Saga, Spotify and DoubleDown Casino in the top five.

Breaking down downloads by publisher, Tencent led worldwide downloads, with almost 150 million downloads in Q4. Google and Facebook followed in the top three. However, in terms of U.S. downloads, Google topped the chart, followed by Facebook and Electronic Arts.

Elsewhere, Clash of Clans developer Supercell was found to be the highest grossing publisher in the U.S. for the quarter, followed by Machine Zone, King, Electronic Arts and Spotify in the top five. Apple’s own apps were excluded from Sensor Tower’s top download and revenue charts.


Finally, in terms of overall app categories, games led for both downloads and revenue in Q4. Specifically, in Q4, games had more than double the number of downloads of the second-largest category, entertainment apps, and games earned more than four times the revenue of the other 22 app categories combined.

Oliver Yeh, co-founder of Sensor Tower, told SocialTimes:

While Q4 was an improvement over the previous quarters in 2015 across the board, and games continued to be the biggest contributor in terms of downloads and revenue, we’re starting to see impressive growth in the Entertainment and Photo & Video categories. This has been driven by streaming video services such as Netflix and YouTube, which both grew their user bases and began to earn significant revenue on iOS for the first time last quarter.

Sensor Tower’s complete report is available here.

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Photo Evidence Shows Facebook Is Building Messenger For Mac

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Facebook Messenger For Mac

Facebook Messenger Tops 800 Million Monthly Users, Previews 2016

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Facebook vice president of messaging products David Marcus announced that Messenger now has more than 800 million monthly active users and offered a look back at 2015 and a look ahead to 2016.

Messenger reached 700 million MAUs last June, and the application topped the 500 million-MAU mark in November 2014.

In a Newsroom post, Marcus reviewed features that were added to Messenger in 2015:

Marcus also offered a detailed look at what’s ahead for Messenger in 2016:

The disappearance of the phone number: First, let’s set some context. Think about it: SMS and texting came to the fore in the time of flip phones. Now, many of us can do so much more on our phones; we went from just making phone calls and sending basic text-only messages to having computers in our pockets. And just like the flip phone is disappearing, old communication styles are disappearing, too. With Messenger, we offer all the things that made texting so popular, but also so much more. Yes, you can send text messages, but you can also send stickers, photos, videos, voice clips, GIFs, your location and money to people. You can make video and voice calls while at the same time not needing to know someone’s phone number. You don’t need to have a Facebook account to use Messenger anymore, and it’s also a cross platform experience–so you can pick up where you left off whether you’re on a desktop computer, a tablet or your phone.

Threads are the new apps: We’re seeing a paradigm shift in how people engage. At Messenger, we’re thinking about how we can help you interact with businesses or services to buy items (and then buy more again), order rides, purchase airline tickets and talk to customer service in truly frictionless and delightful ways. It is so much easier to do everything in one place that has the context of your last interactions, as well as your identity–no need to ever log in–rather than downloading apps that you’ll never use again and jumping around from one app to another. Our early tests in 2015 with brands are showing that interactions will happen more and more in your Messenger threads, so we’ll continue making it easy for you to engage with businesses, and we’ll also do more to enable additional businesses and services to build the right experience in conversations.

We’re all social beings: We love to share, chat, debate, discuss and inform, most often with those closest to us. Messenger now gives you many tools to help you personalize your conversations no matter who you are talking to–your dorm corridor, your co-workers, your mom. We’re looking at ways for you to build your own space to communicate just the way you want to in your own style and tone–think of it like your very own social handshake. And one-to-one messages aren’t the only option. Groups on Messenger are the very best way to coordinate with friends, family, coworkers and others to make plans or even just to make sure you don’t miss anything when you can’t all be together in person.

Innovation matters: You can expect us to keep trying new things, too. Our test of M, our digital virtual assistant, powered by human-trained AI (artificial intelligence), is going well. It’s still very, very early days, but the growing AI capabilities are bringing unparalleled convenience to simple, everyday tasks like booking a restaurant, sending flowers and making plans. There will be more innovative developments to come from Messenger this year.

It’s all about delight: It’s really important that we build products that solve real problems for people. We want all of our experiences to be delightful and helpful, and to make your life easier, but we also want to empower you to put a smile on the faces of those people who matter the most in your life.

Readers: What do you think of Marcus’ outlook for Messenger in 2016?


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Facebook Messenger Hits 800M Users: 2016 Strategy And Predictions

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Facebook Messenger 800

Mark Zuckerberg’s New Year’s Resolution: Building His Own Personal Assistant

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Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is looking for a new personal assistant, but don’t bother flooding Menlo Park with résumés: He’s building it himself.

Zuckerberg announced in a Facebook post (embedded below) that his personal challenge for 2016 is to create his own version of Jarvis from Iron Man.

His previous personal challenges have included learning Mandarin, reading two books every month and meeting a new person every day.

Zuckerberg wrote:

My personal challenge for 2016 is to build a simple AI (artificial intelligence) to run my home and help me with my work. You can think of it kind of like Jarvis in Iron Man.

I’m going to start by exploring what technology is already out there. Then I’ll start teaching it to understand my voice to control everything in our home–music, lights, temperature and so on. I’ll teach it to let friends in by looking at their faces when they ring the doorbell. I’ll teach it to let me know if anything is going on in Max‘s room that I need to check on when I’m not with her. On the work side, it’ll help me visualize data in VR (virtual reality) to help me build better services and lead my organizations more effectively.

Every challenge has a theme, and this year’s theme is invention.

At Facebook, I spend a lot of time working with engineers to build new things. Some of the most rewarding work involves getting deep into the details of technical projects. I do this with Internet.org when we discuss the physics of building solar-powered planes and satellites to beam down Internet access. I do this with Oculus VR when we get into the details of the controllers or the software we’re designing. I do this with Messenger when we discuss our AI to answer any question you have. But it’s a different kind of rewarding to build things yourself, so this year my personal challenge is to do that.

This should be a fun intellectual challenge to code this for myself. I’m looking forward to sharing what I learn over the course of the year.

Readers: What are your thoughts on Zuckerberg’s personal challenge for 2016?

Photo credit: videocrab via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA

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February 2016
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