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Facebook Brings Group Video Chat In Messenger

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Group Video Chat on Messenger

Facebook has introduced the “most requested feature,” ability to group video chat in Messenger. Just in time for holidays, the group video chat feature expands on group voice chat, which was added back in April.

With this update rolling out now on iOS, Android and desktop version of Messenger, you will be able to invite up to 50 people to come over video call — though you can only see six people at one time, while other participants will be able to listen or response with their voice. Once there are more than six people in a video chat, the app will show the active speaker on screen in a Google Hangouts-like carousel design.

There’s also support for live stickers, called 3D Masks, on iOS, with Android support coming soon. You know what it is, if you’re on Snapchat.

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Facebook is shutting down its ‘M’ virtual assistant on January 19

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David Marcus
David Marcus, Facebook

Facebook has announced that it is shutting down M, its human-backed AI assistant, which lived inside the Messenger for two and a half years now. The M virtual assistant will be shut down on January 19, 2018.

Facebook’s M virtual assistant, announced back in 2015, was different from Siri or Google Assistant, with a dedicated team training and supervising the service. Therefore, M was able to do things like purchasing items, getting gifts delivered. The service was made available to about 2,000 people living in California, under the beta tag, of course. But M could never get rid of that label.

Facebook M

Facebook has issued the following statement regarding the shutdown of M, stating the project as an ‘experiment.’

We launched this project to learn what people needed and expected of an assistant, and we learned a lot. We’re taking these useful insights to power other AI projects at Facebook. We continue to be very pleased with the performance of M suggestions in Messenger, powered by our learnings from this experiment.

While you will no longer be able to see or use M in Messenger, the suggestions from M will still be available in the app, as mentioned above. M suggestions, which released for all users in the US last April, will continue to offer contextual content in your Messenger conversations. Suggestions from M are powered by AI and not humans, so the more you use it, the better it will get. It will be interesting to see upcoming AI projects from Facebook, with insights from M.

/ TechCrunch

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Facebook now rolling out ‘Explore Feed’ feature to mobile and desktop users

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Facebook has begun rolling out a new “Explore Feed” feature to mobile and desktop users today. The feature had been under testing with a small number of users lately, and is now ready for global rollout, confirmed Facebook.

So, what exactly is Facebook’s Explore Feed?

As the name suggests, Explore Feed is a broader ground for discovering new content. While it sounds and works similar to Facebook’s News Feed, the content appearing in Explore Feed is from sources that you don’t currently follow. The content generated is heavily influenced by your past likes and shares. It’s an algorithmic thing, actually.

Here’s what Facebook has to say on Explore Feed:

“We are beginning to roll out a complementary feed of popular articles, videos, and photos, automatically customized for each person based on content that might be interesting to them,” the Facebook spokesperson said.

“We’ve heard from people that they want an easy way to explore relevant content from Pages they haven’t connected with yet.”

The Explore Feed segment is aligned along the left sidebar on desktop, while the mobile client has it housed in the “More” menu in navigation bar. The feature is on roll, and should reach to you anytime soon, if it hasn’t already.

/ TechCrunch

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Instagram Stories now available on the web

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Instagram Stories on Mobile Web

Instagram is bringing support for its well-known Stories feature to the web, along with new face filters that are based on the weather types. But wait, the availability is limited to mobile web only. The update doesn’t reflect any change to the desktop version of Instagram, which already is a very basic platform of the social network as you cannot actually upload any media item from there.

Instagram Stories is now available to watch on instagram.com. The Stories feed appear at the top of the screen, just like on the mobile app. Instagram says the Stories feature has quickly become an “important part” of the photo-sharing social network, with over 250 million people using the feature every day.

You can try the new weather-inspired face filters starting today, with choices including a happy sun, a sad raincloud, an angry thunderstorm, or a laid-block sun. The choice is all yours!

While the Stories update will be available to everyone in the coming weeks, the new face filters are available as part of Instagram version 10.21 (or higher) on iOS and Android.

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