Apps

Facebook acquires face-swapping app MSQRD

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Facebook is taking steps to keep up with Snapchat by buying Masquerade, the Belarus-based startup that built face-swapping app MSQRD. A few months back, Snapchat quietly acquired Looksery, and launched Lenses, a similar product built into Snapchat’s interface, that has since allowed users to add animated effects to their selfies.

While other selfie-enhancing apps like Perfect365 let you alter photos, MSQRD allows users to add live video filters, with effects ranging from a gorilla’s face to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar-winning moment.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the acquisition by posting a MSQRD video of himself using an Iron Man filter.

Taking a break from coding to welcome the MSQRD team to Facebook!

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, March 9, 2016

“Now, we’re excited to join forces with Facebook and bring the technology to even more people. Within Facebook, we’re going to be able to reach people at a scale like never before,” Masquerade said in a blog post.

An exact rollout date has yet to be revealed, but expect live filters to appear on the Facebook app soon.

MSQRD will continue to be available as a standalone app on the App Store and the Google Play Store.

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MSQRD lets you add live face-swapping filters to your photos and videos.

This is not Facebook’s first attempt at going head to head with Snapchat. The social networking giant previously tried to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion in cash but was turned down.

It also launched Snapchat clones Poke (in 2012) and Slingshot (2014) that allowed users to share short-lived photos and videos with one another. Both apps have since been deleted on the App Store and Google Play Store.

Is this the beginning of Snapchat’s end? Or is Facebook about to face its greatest fear and become a ghost town?

Apps

Instagram releases IGTV app for creators

Now capable of uploading hour-long videos

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Have you ever wanted to upload a video longer than a minute on Instagram? You’re in for a treat as the photo-sharing company launched its latest product: IGTV!

IGTV comes with a stand-alone app that allows you to watch longer videos from content creators all over the world, and upload your own videos, as well. With IGTV, creators can upload a video up to an hour long. However, keep in mind that the videos have to be vertically oriented when you upload them.

“It’s built for how you actually use your phone,” according to Instagram’s business blog. Of course, newer accounts won’t be able to fully maximize this new feature as IGTV limits the upload time to ten minutes. However, Instagram is working on applying the one-hour limit to everyone in the future.

Much like a TV, IGTV features channels from different content creators from around the world. When you follow a creator on Instagram, you can access their IGTV channel through a button above Stories. Meanwhile, the IGTV app allows you to scroll through a list of channels according to your preferences. The app filters the channels according to who you’re following and the most popular creators on IGTV itself.

Instagram hopes to add more features to IGTV in the future to help content creators. These features range from advertisements in between videos to an option for monetization — something YouTube is doing right now. Instagram wants to give content creators another means to reach their audience while earning revenue from their content, too.

The IGTV app is now available for download from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store for free! Integration with the Instagram app will follow suit once an update arrives.

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Apps

Facebook Messenger will soon autoplay videos in your conversations

Nope, we don’t want videos playing while chatting!

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When using a free service, expect it to have ads. That’s what exactly Facebook is doing to keep their platform free of charges, but they’re running out of room for ads inside their main app, so they’re finding more places to put them. That’s why Messenger, Facebook’s messaging app, started to have ads for quite some time now, and it’s about to get more.

Currently, ads inside Messenger are static and they’re bearable since they don’t necessarily get in the way. As mentioned earlier, Facebook wants to put in more ads in their messaging app. Not just simple ads though, but autoplay videos. Videos are more valuable for the company since they sell higher to advertisers. But, can users deal with videos automatically playing while they’re chatting with friends and family?

Stefanos Loukakos, the one who runs Messenger’s ad business, says he’s aware how autoplay videos would feel intrusive and that the company will monitor user behavior to learn if these new ads turn people off. He did claim in an article by Recode that they’re not yet sure how things will work, but basic ads in Messenger didn’t show any changes with how people used the platform and videos may or may not have the same effect.

Autoplay video ads on Messenger will roll out early next week to select (and unlucky) users.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Messenger’s new interface makes it simple again

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Android Messages web client goes live and gets new features

Text, images, and stickers are all supported

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Android Messages‘ much-awaited feature is finally available and it’s not the only new thing to try out. Google has five new features for users of Messages, from web support to smart replies.

The web version of Android Messages is now rolling out to users, allowing them to send and view messages on their desktop or laptop’s browsers.

Users may visit messages.android.com to access the Android Messages for web. They must also have the updated app on their phone to pair their browser with their phone. People can send stickers, emoji, and attach images aside from sending simple text messages.

The other new features of Android Messages include nifty smart replies for quick responses, instant preview of a link to an article in the conversation, built-in GIF search capabilities, and a useful shortcut for copying one-time passwords such as verification codes when logging into certain apps.

The new features, according to Google, are slowly becoming available to Android users and the rollout will continue throughout the week.

Source: Google

SEE ALSO: The future of Android messaging gets support from carriers worldwide

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