Facebook Messenger Update Brings Usernames, Links, and Messenger Codes

With an update set to rollout today to all users, Facebook’s Messenger app will offer the ability for you to create your very own username on the service. This username can then be used for others to more easily find you, rather than searching by name. For example, if you love cats and beer, your username can be BuzzedKitty. The choice of username will be up to you.

In addition to your very own username, the Messenger team is implementing Messenger Codes, which can be used sorta like how Snapchat uses codes. If you and a group of friends are hanging out, you can share your specific Messenger codes to add each other on the service. The same can be done if you are at a convention for work, or any other place that you might want to add new users on the service. Codes are circular and embeddable into emails, websites, business cards, or anywhere else you want people to see it. It is 100% unique to your account. (more…)

Microsoft Adds Facebook, Evernote, Wunderlist Connections to Outlook, Thanks to Sunrise

The Outlook app on Android and iOS is finally getting the new app integration that we knew was coming, thanks to Microsoft’s acquisition of Sunrise, the best damn calendar app on the planet that Microsoft is killing. In the next version of Outlook, you’ll be able to connect to Evernote, Facebook, and Wunderlist accounts, making your Outlook calendar a place for managing multiple apps and tasks.

If you used Sunrise at all in the past, this integration will be familiar. If you are new, well, this is the basic idea. With an integration or “Calendar App,” you connect Outlook to other apps, like Evernote, Facebook, and Wunderlist. Once connected, you can see things like Wunderlist or Evernote items with due dates in your calendar, but you can see other to-dos with a simple touch. With Facebook connected, your Facebook events will appear on your calendar, but are also shortcuts to the events in the Facebook app.  (more…)

#TBT: Facebook Unveils the HTC First, No One Buys It

On April 3 of 2013, I went hands-on with the HTC First, also known as the Facebook Phone. For complete transparency, I wasn’t actually allowed to hold the phone because the software was still in development, but a very nice Facebook employee held it for me and took me on a hardware tour. Little did I know at the time, April 3 would also be the last I ever saw of the HTC First, as once it was announced, hardly a single soul, relative to the smartphone market as a whole, decided to purchase it.

Launched with a price of $99 on-contract, no one bought this thing, even with a few big tech sites giving it decently scoring reviews. Fast forward not even a month, when AT&T, the only carrier in the US to offer the phone, slashed the price to $0.99 on-contract. This was the first sign that literally no one wanted this thing.  (more…)

Facebook Live Adds Support for Groups and Events, Viewer Reactions

Facebook announced changes for Facebook Live today, changes that will affect those who broadcast their own happenings, as well as those who are viewing the broadcast. Starting now, users inside of Groups and Events can begin live broadcasts for members to view, but for viewers, they have been given new ways to express themselves while watching.

To do this, Facebook is including Reactions for viewers, which are those six icons that sum up the entire range of human emotion you see on your News Feed. For example, you can Love a live broadcast, say, “Wow” with a emoji, or express sadness with the teardrop emoji. (more…)

Report: Facebook Messenger to Offer “Secret Conversations,” In-Store Purchase Feature

According to code buried within the Messenger app from Facebook, new features may soon be available that will lead to a more secure chatting experience for users. As detailed by The Information, secret conversations, which is likely a reference to encrypted messaging, would allow users to chat a bit more privately, a feature that is currently available to users of WhatsApp. (more…)

Instagram is Probably Going to Mess Up Your Feed

In the “coming months,” Instagram is going to start messing with your feed. It’s probably going to suck. Prepare yourselves.

Instagram says that about 70 percent of people miss the content in their feed because growing feeds are becoming harder and harder to keep up with. What they are trying to say is that you are missing photos or videos that were taken earlier in the day or yesterday or the day before because you don’t have time to scroll all of the way back through that many photos, depending on how many people you follow and how active at posting they are. Like Facebook before it, Instagram is going to try and fix this problem by sorting your photos and videos to “show the moments we believe you will care about the most.” (more…)