Facebook begins testing a feed just for video

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Facebook believes its site will be mostly about video within a year or two, and today we’re starting to see some big steps in that direction. Facebook is announcing a number of new video tests, the biggest of which is a brand new feed that’s just for videos. On Facebook’s iPhone app, it’ll appear as the middle of the five tabs on the bottom of the screen, replacing Messenger; though it’ll be vertical like the traditional News Feed, you’ll be scrolling past carousels of videos shared by your friends and the pages you follow. Facebook says it’s only testing the video feed with “a small number of people now,” so it may be a while before it widely rolls out.

In addition to the new feed, Facebook is starting to test a number of other changes to help you find and watch videos. The first is a suggested videos feed, which you can access by scrolling down from any full screen video that you’re watching to see more like it. Facebook says that this feature is in “the early days of testing,” but it’s “pleased with the initial results,” which show that people with access to suggested videos end up watching more videos. This feature is now rolling out to most iPhone users. It’s starting to be tested on the web, too, and Android tests should arrive in the “coming months.” Of note, Facebook will also place advertisers’ videos in the suggested feed.

Facebook is testing two other changes to help people watch videos. The first is a picture-in-picture feature, which will let you tap a button to shrink the video down into a small box that plays in a corner of the News Feed as you scroll through it — it’s a lot like what Tumblr implemented last year. Facebook is also testing a “save” button, which you can tap to save a video to a list for later viewing; saved videos will also appear in the new video feed, if you have access to it. Both the picture-in-picture feature and the save video feature are still in testing, and it isn’t stated how widely they’ve rolled out.

These changes follow a series of improvements to Facebook’s video product that have been rolling out this year. That includes support for 360 degree video — something that’ll be particularly important when the Oculus Rift launches next year — as well as live video broadcasting tools. Facebook’s video player has also been much improved and can now be embedded around the web. It’s quickly turning into the YouTube competitor that Facebook wants it to be. Facebook is now working on the video homepage, next it just needs to keep working on the content.

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