Category: Social Web

Facebook videos can be thrown from your mobile device to the big screen

Article

AirPlay devices discovered by iPad

Facebook videos can be directed to that Apple TV or Chromecast device

Now you can stream Facebook video on your TV | Mashable

My Comments

You are flicking through what your friends have posted up on Facebook and have come across that interesting video one of them put up from their trip or family event. But you would like to give it the “big screen” treatment by showing it on the large TV in the lounge so everyone can watch.

Now you will be able to with the Facebook native apps for the iOS and Android mobile platforms. Here, you can “throw” the video to a TV that is connected to an Apple TV or Chromecast / Google Cast device on the same home network as your mobile device. This will apply to videos offered by your Friends and Pages that you follow including any of the Facebook Live content that is made available.

A frame from a Facebook video that could be given the big-screen treatment

A frame from a Facebook video that could be given the big-screen treatment

Here, when you see the Facebook video on the latest iteration of your Facebook native client, you will see a TV icon beside the transport controls for the video. When you tap that icon, you will see a list of the Apple TV or Chromecast devices on your network that you can “throw” the video to. Once you select the device you want to stream the video to, then it will appear on the TV.

Facebook also values the idea of you being able to continue browsing the social network while the video plays, something that can be useful for following comments left regarding that videoclip.

Apple TV 4th Generation press picture courtesy of Apple

One of these devices could take Facebook on your iPhone further

The article also reckoned that Facebook exploiting Google Cast and Apple AirPlay rather than creating native apps for the Android TV and Apple TV platforms is a cheaper option. But I also see it as an advantage because you don’t need to support multiple sign-ons which both platforms would require thanks to the large-screen TV being used by many people.

A good question to raise is whether you could do this same activity with photos that have been uploaded to Facebook. This is because, from my experience with Facebook, people who are travelling tend to press their presence on this social network and Instagram, its stablemate, in to service as an always-updated travelogue during the journey by uploading some impressive images from their travels. Here, you may want to show these images from these collections on that big screen in a manner that does them justice.

At least Facebook are making efforts to exploit the big screen in the lounge by using Apple TV and Google Cast technology as a way to throw videos and Facebook Live activity to it.

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Facebook Messenger goes native on Windows 10 desktop at last

Article

Facebook finally brings Messenger and Instagram apps to Windows 10 | CNet

Facebook Messenger for Windows 10 PC now live in the Windows Store | Windows Central

From the horse’s mouth

Facebook

Press Release

Windows Store link

My Comments

Facebook Messenger Windows 10 native client

Facebook Messenger – now native on Windows 10

Previously, I wrote about why desktop operating systems need to be supported with native-client apps for messaging platforms. Here I highlighted how the likes of ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger and Skype started off in the “regular-computer” / desktop operating system sphere and when the smartphones came on the scene, newer messaging platforms ended up being based on iOS and Android mobile platforms first.

Facebook Messenger Windows 10 live tile

Facebook Messenger live tile – now a message waiting indicator

The advantages that I highlighted included a stable client program that works tightly with the operating system; and the ability to work tightly with the operating system’s file-system. security and user-experience features extracting the maximum benefit from the user experience.

Now Facebook have answered this goal by providing a native client for Microsoft Windows 10 users, especially those of us using regular computers running this operating system.

Facebook Messenger Live Tile - Tablet mode

Facebook Messenger Live Tile – Tablet mode

This program ticks the boxes for a native client app by using its Notification Center to show incoming messages and chats; along with the ability to show messages as a Live Tile on your Start Menu. There is the ability to upload photos, videos and GIFs from your computer’s file system, which can be a bonus when you have downloaded your pictures from your good digital camera and worked on them using a good image-editing tool.

Of course, you have the features associated with your iOS-based or Android-based Facebook Messenger experience such as knowing when your correspondents are “up-to-date” with the conversation. As well, you have that similarly uncluttered experience which makes it easy to navigate your chats while it doesn’t take up much room on your screen when it is in the default windowed state.

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Facebook launches a “Safety Check” program for use during emergencies

Facebook Safety Check iPhone notification screenshot courtesy Facebook

Facebook Safety Check notification on iPhone

Articles

SAFETY CHECK: Facebook Tool Simplifies Users’ Communication During Disasters, Crisis Situations | AllFacebook

Facebook’s new Safety Check lets you tell friends you’re safe when disaster strikes | NakedSecurity (Sophos)

From the horse’s mouth

Facebook

Introducing Safety Check (Press Release)

Feature Description

My Comments

Facebook has just released a system which works during natural disasters or other civil emergencies to allow people to be sure that those friends of theirs who are in the affected areas are OK. This system, known as Safety Check, was born out of a “notice board that Facebook built in to their system during the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. It would still complement other methods like phoning or texting those you know in the affected areas.

If an emergency happens, this would affect a known geographical area and Facebook would determine if you or your friends are in that area or not. Typically, this would be brought on by emergency services and the media advising Facebook of these situations. This would be based on the City data in your Profile or rough-gauging where you are interacting with it from. It would also use the Last Location details if you opt in to and implement the “Nearby Friends” app as another metric.

Facebook Safety Check dashboard screenshots (regular computer and mobile) courtesy Facebook

Facebook Safety Check dashboard- regular and mobile (handheld) views

Here, you will have a notification that will pop up if you are in the affected area and you mark this as “I’m Safe” if you are OK and safe, or mark as being “Out Of Area” if Facebook miscalculates your location and determines that you are in that area when you are are not in that area. The latter situation can happen for people who are in a large metropolitan area or conurbation and the disaster or crisis situation only affects a small part of that area.

This status will show up to your Friends as a Notification and in their News Feed to reassure them.This is augmented by a special “dashboard” page created for the emergency that shows a filtered list of your friends who are in the area affected by the crisis so you cab know who has “called in” to say they are OK,

This same setup also benefits those of us who are outside the affected areas and want to simply be sure that none of our friends have been affected by that crisis. Here, we receive the News Feeds and Notifications about our Friends who have “checked in” as being safe or out of the affected area and can also see this on that same “dashboard” page.

As for the privacy issue, these updates are only visible to those people who are currently your Facebook Friends when it comes to “coarse” coverage and to those of us who have reciprocally enabled the “Nearby Friends” functionality on Facebook for each other.

Although Facebook is the dominant consumer-facing social network and is able to achieve this goal, various other messaging and social-network services could learn form this setup to allow “at-a-glance” notification of our loved ones’ welfare during natural disasters and other crises.

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Facebook Events–a new vector for distributing spam

Facebook event spam notification in Notifications list - comes from a Friend

Facebook event spam notification in Notifications list – comes from a Friend

Article

Spammers Using Facebook Events to Trick Users | ReadWrite

My Comments

Ever since its early days, scammers have used Facebook as a place to spam users with their shady schemes. Previously this was through running a message with a tantalising link surrounded by tantalising text on users’ Walls and this link would pass through to some unscrupulous site.

This has failed to work now that Facebook has achieved critical mass with users subscribing to different Groups, Pages and Personal Profiles including those that represent their interests. This situation leads to the News Feed, the user’s default view in Facebook, being full of various pieces of information from different sources.

But, over the years, Facebook introduced a notifications mechanism for events beyond potential Friend requests or comments left on a Status Update and users are more likely to check on what has been added to the Notifications list. Here, it also introduced the Event which a Facebook user can invite their Friends or Followers to depending on its settings and this allows the user to register whether they are attending or not.

Event page for spammy Facebook event

Event page for spammy Facebook event

This bas become a new path for distributing link-bait spam because these Events don’t come often in a user’s interaction with Facebook. Similarly, the default setup has it that Facebook treats the Events as something to generate a Notification about and it effectively shows up the red “Notifications” flag in the Web view while causing native clients to show a distinct alert message and audio prompt when these come in. For example, the mobile clients for iOS and Android would list the event in the mobile operating system’s Notifications tray while causing the phone to sound a distinct ringtone or the Facebook Windows clients will “pop up” a message on the Desktop with your computer sounding an audible chime.

As well, if you “accept” these Events, they will appear as a Status Update on your Wall (Timeline). Of course, it will require the user to click through to the Event page and this will show a URL for you to click through to for more details, most likely along with some tantalising pictures. These URLs are where the trouble occurs because it could lead to installation of malware on your computer or other questionable practices taking place and some of these URLs are infact obfuscated using URL-shortening services like bit.ly .

If these “event spam” notifications come from one of your Facebook Friends, don’t click on anything to do with the Event page. Rather, let your friend know that they are the victim of a spammer and suggest they change the password on their Facebook account and run a malware scan on their computer.

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Official app for Facebook now on Windows 8.1

Facebook client for Windows 8Those of you who like using your Sony VAIO Tap 20, HP x2 Series, Sony VAIO Duo 11 or other Window 8 touch laptop to stalk on Facebook can now do so using a Facebook client that is written to be part of the operating system’s Modern user interface.

Here, you have a 3-pane dashboard with a presence list of the friends you interact with on the right-hand side, the News Feed in the centre of your screen and the grey “selection” menu on the left. The right hand top corner has a one-touch access point for status updates, pending friend requests and conversations that are taking place. There is the same ease in which you can browse what is available, including photos whether as a screen show or as a tiled arrangement.

I have even browsed through various photo albums in a “slide-show” view and the viewing experience comes across very smoothly. For example, when a photo initially appears, you see it looking soft and less detailed but it arrives with more detail coming through. There is the ability to zoom in on an image as well as flick through the slideshows.

Even mouse users, which covers most desktop users, are cared for because you can still use your rodent to scroll up and down using its thumbwheel. The thumbwheel works properly with scrolling the various columns for the News Feeds, the chat you are having, the presence list and the like independently – it depends on what you are actually hovering over. If you flip through photos in someone’s album, you can use the thumbwheel to “speed” through them. Using the SHIFT key with the thumbwheel allows you to detail in and out of the photos.

Its behaviour through a conversation is as expected but I would like to see a “typing” indicator so I can know if they are typing a reply at a particular moment.

This is certainly an application that appears to be mature from the start rather than one that is bug-ridden and failing too frequently. Give this a go on your Windows 8 laptop as something to work the Modern UI with.

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Use QR codes to point someone to your Facebook Profile

Articles

Facebook Adding QR Codes To Android App, Directing Scanners To Users’ Profiles? – AllFacebook

Facebook Adds QR Codes To Android App | 2D Code

My Comments

You are at the party or favourite bar and you have started to chat with someone very well. But you mention that you are on Facebook and they say that they are also on that same social network. You ask if it is OK to “friend them” on Facebook and they agree.

The next thing you do is ask for their name to search for them in your Facebook mobile app. This can be very difficult in a noisy environment or if they have a name that has a particular spelling or is one of many common names. Pick, pick, pick, pick, pick – you have found that person and are sending a “Friend Request”to them.

Now Facebook have improved on this for the latest version of their Android mobile client by using the QR code to simplify the profile-sharing process. Here, you bring up “Friends” in the drop-down menu. Then you tap “Find Friends” which shows the “People You May Know” list. Touch the “QR Code” button on the top right of your display to show a QR code that represents a link to your Profile.

If you are adding your companion to your Friends list, you then tap “Scan Code” and point your Android phone’s camera at the QR code that your companion is showing on their Android phone’s screen using this same client. This takes you to their Timeline which would have any “public” posts that are on it as well as the option to add them as a Friend.

I don’t see this as a controversial feature for Facebook because you have to be pulling up your Facebook Profile’s QR code in the presence of your companion who then has to use their device running the client app to scan that code – you are not intending to “friend them” behind their back.

This function could be taken further for businesses who have Facebook Pages or people who use Facebook Pages as a way to maintain a sanitised “public” profile. As well, if a person maintains a Page for their business or blog along with their personal Profile, the QR code could lead the user to a screen with an option to go to the Page which you then “like” to follow or the Profile with an option to “subscribe” (see only public Posts and Photos) or “add Friend” (be seen as a Facebook Friend with standard privileges).

Similarly, other social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn could implement this technology to allow people to attract followers or connections. NFC technology can also be exploited to achieve the same functionality as these QR codes for “there-and-then” access to contact profiles.

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Facebook now exposes suicide-prevention resources to their users through an infographic flow-chart

Article

INFOGRAPHIC: Suicide Prevention Resources On Facebook – AllFacebook

My Comments

I have previously covered the issue of Facebook in relation to the difficult topic of suicide and self-harm with an article about some incidents where a Facebook user sought assistance to handle a suicide attempt across the other side of the world; as well as another drawing attention to teenagers using this service as a counselling resource to reach out to other at-risk teens.

Now Facebook have taken it upon themselves to provide resources to help users worried about a person who is at risk of self-harm or suicide. This is more so where a Facebook status update becomes something to vent one’s feelings as I have seen before many times.

Here, they have exposed these resources and what they can do by showing an infographic flow-chart (PDF) about what they can do to help the user who is worried about their friend. They are exposing this flow-chart using a series of public-service announcements that appear across the Website so everyone who is using Facebook is aware of the resource.

This is in addition to partnering with organisations like Lifeline and Samaritans as well as implementing protocols and procedures to handle these situations especially where it happens in another country. One of the actions can include Facebook drawing the affected person’s attention to their local resources as well as keeping the concerned friend “in the loop” through a special Web dashboard.

As well, they have made a “one-touch” reference list of these organisations in their online help so that anyone across the Internet can be aware of these resources.

What I see of this is that Facebook, due to the sheer number of regular users, has done the right thing to handle this situation and this could open up questions amongst Internet-based online communities about how to handle situations where a person expresses a desire to harm themselves through these communities.

 

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The latest Facebook feature is to create photo albums which your Friends can add photos to

Article

Facebook Allows Multiple Users To Upload Pictures To Albums | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

My Comments

Previously, Facebook, the social network that has a lot of people having a love-hate relationship with, has led the field with the concept of people tagging in its early days and has improved on the privacy issues with that. This concept has been taken further with some image-management software like Windows Photo Gallery

A classic scenario that encompasses every Facebook user is a group event like a party or holiday. Here, each member takes plenty of photos of this event with their smartphone or digital camera and most if not all of the members have each other as Facebook Friends. But what do we do with these photos and how do we share them?

Typically, each of us would create an album in our own Facebook Profiles, having it set as “Friends Only” or “Friends Of Friends”. Then we would add the photos that we took at the event to this album. These photos and any subsequently-added photos would then be advertised in each others’ News Feeds and each of us could view each other’s albums of the same event.

One way I thought that this situation may be mitigated would be to create an event-specific tag that you attach to photos or albums and support browsing along photos and albums that contain this tag no matter who created them. This could effectively created a “super-album” for that event or place.

But Facebook have recently added a feature where other Friends can contribute images to an album. Here, the owner of the album can specifically invite others to add the photos or make it a free-for-all; yet be able to edit the images as required. There are three privacy levels for the album – public (everyone can view), friends of contributors (contributors and their Facebook Friends) or contributors only can view the whole album.

In the case of someone who “came in to town” or you went on a trip, they or you could create one album which encompasses the shots around town plus one or more albums with public events which they own. Then, when they are invited to a dinner party or other event by local friends, they (or the hosts) create an album set up for contribution in their Facebook Profile with appropriate settings and use that album for images of that event.

If you hosted a party like a 21st, you or a guest could run one of these albums so that guests can contribute images from that party. The large album size that is being part if the equation can allow you to see the album become Facebook’s equivalent of the photowall that some hosts may use for major parties.

A problem that I do see with the contributable album is Facebook making it difficult to move or copy photos between albums. This is of importance with the “mobile” albums that mobile Facebook implementations always insist on creating such as “Mobile Uploads” or “iOS Photos”; along with generically-named albums that Instagram and other apps like creating. I would suggest that this feature is augmented with the ability to move or copy photos between albums.

As well, Facebook allowing the use of user-determined tags could allow for the creation of “super-albums” for events or places without the need for one person to create contributed or other albums.

Similarly, the ability to create shortcuts to albums or photos between one’s own profile and a Page that one is administering could work as a way to avoid the need to upload pictures twice for a page and one’s own profile.

As for client software, I would like to see Facebook mobile clients be DLNA servers / control points so that one could “throw” single images or collections of images such as the albums to a Smart TV or TV attached to a DLNA-capable Blu-Ray player if you want them on a large screen or for group viewing.

At least Facebook are taking better steps to making it easier to “pool” photos of group events in order for all of the members of that group to enjoy them.

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Orange to set up Facebook-based voice calling in France

Articles

French wireless carrier lets you call friends through Facebook | Internet & Media – CNET News

Facebook Is Launching A Numberless ‘Social Calling’ Service | Gizmodo

My Comments

The French are at it again with their online technology. Orange (France Télécom) have provided a Facebook-based “social calling” feature as part of their Livebox service for their subscribers.

The service, sold under the marketing name of “Party Call” is not a VoIP service but uses Orange’s mobile and landline voice infrastructure. But how does it exploit Facebook? Instead, it works as a Facebook app for the call management process, using your “Friends” list as the phone book if your Friends have listed their phone numbers, typically their mobile numbers, in to Facebook. Effectively it is as though you don’t have to remember their phone numbers.

I would improve on this through the ability to manage whether you can receive calls made on this setup or not. Here, this could prevent people from “stalking” you with your Facebook identity especially if you have tied a phone number to it.

Similarly, I would like to see a warning if you are calling someone who has an overseas mobile number or is roaming mainly to avoid bill shock for either party. This could be augmented through the the call routed through Skype, Viber or similar over-the-top VoIP services when the caller is roaming or overseas.

Of course, for people who use regular computers or tablets that don’t support cellular voice calling, I would want to be sure whether this function ties in with Orange-supplied telephone equipment like the Livebox and its DECT handsets or whether it simply uses a “softphone” setup that uses a VoIP setup.

It can also relate to issues like highly-strung DECT cordless handsets being able to import Facebook “friend lists” in to their contact lists and, eventually, Facebook turning in to an Internet-driven contact directory.

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Email suits messages to be taken further better than the social-network message

A common task that I have had to help people with lately is when they use an instant messaging service or the messaging function in a social-network service to send a message that is to be handled further. This is more so with people who rely heavily on Facebook as their online communications medium and start to forget their email address.

For example, it may be a message that is to be sent to somebody by email or to be printed out in order to be signed then sent by postal mail or fax. This includes messages that contain “boilerplate text” that is to be modified with further information before being sent or printed out.

Most instant-messaging or social-network messaging user interfaces don’t have a way of allowing you to print out or select the text of a particular message. This is typically frustrated by the “conversation” view that these user interfaces show the messages in, and this problem can be made worse by hard-to-manipulate user interfaces like laptop trackpads or touchscreens.

What do you do?

Here, it would be preferable that if you are talking with a correspondent via a service like Facebook, make sure that each of you know each other’s email address, not just the “handle” or member-name for these messaging services.

Then, send the message that is to be “taken further” to the correspondent using email rather than the message system. Infact you compose the message to be taken further using your email software or Webmail user interface. The correspondent can then print out that message or copy it to their word-processing software for modification and printing out.

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