Facebook Announces a Couple of New Features and Plans a Smartphone

After the IPO and the decrease in value of stock actions that followed, Facebook fights back with heavy artillery and announces games in feeds, rolls out “trending videos” and plans to launch a smartphone in 2013.

Yup, that’s right, three announcements one after another all targeting different areas and users/companies. Let’s take them one by one.

Facebook launched a feature allowing users to try new games directly in the news feeds. According to the official announcement, feed gaming enables developers to share a playable version of their game within news feed and timeline stories, reaching new users through some of the network’s main distribution channels. Therefore any game developer can include a short demo of a game that will appear in the feed and will allow users to try it. The game developers will not receive any data from users playing the demo. Idle Worship, Angry Birds, and Bubble Witch Saga already use this feature and have also implemented some options so that at the end of the demo users could turn into real players.

This new features is a good way of testing a game, seeing how many people will like it (approximate that based on the number of Facebook users that try it and even become heavy players).

A good thing is that Facebook is providing stats for this app – the game offered as a trial in the feed enabling companies using this new option to see how many “story impressions” they have and how many clicks.

Another new option from Facebook is “trending videos”. The new option is similar to the recently launched “trending articles” feature, that shows articles that are popular among friends, thus making sure no one misses an interesting article appearing at the bottom of the feed. The idea is simple: based on what your friends are watching, using apps that are connected to Facebook’s Open Graph, you’ll be shown a slideshow of videos to check out.

Of course this doesn’t mean the articles or videos are really relevant for you or really the best. The algorithm is based, evidently, on shares and likes, and not on value – impossible otherwise. So pray that your friends really like good articles and nice videos in order for you to have really interesting recommendations from the social network.

And last, but definitely not least, the announcement of the day: Facebook plans to launch a smartphone next year. According to an article in the New York Times this would be Facebook’s third try at building a smartphone, said one person briefed on the plans and one who was recruited. Engineers are being sought, plans are made and 2013 seems to have some surprises reserved for us.

“Mark is worried that if he doesn’t create a mobile phone in the near future that Facebook will simply become an app on other mobile platforms,” a Facebook employee said.

Let’s not forget that Google recently finalized the acquisition of Motorola. In the light of this event, Facebook should really go to work and plan a really good smartphone if it wants to succeed on a market with tough competitors.

Plans, new features and a competitive environment. Now I’m wondering what does Facebook have next in its sleeve? And more importantly, will this wave of promises and announcements get their share price to go up?

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