Just days after the launch of Google Plus, Mark Zuckerberg arranged a press release for his own “Awesome” Facebook announcement. As buzz about the “Facebook Killer” grows, Zuckerberg was determined to let the industry know that the social network mogul was far from conceding to Google.
Zuckerberg seemed very at ease as he revealed some of the new Facebook features and what is to come for the social network. An audience of over 53,000 viewers tuned into Facebook Live’s LiveStream platform on Wednesday afternoon to see what the website would reveal. Zuckerberg noted that the newest features were a result of over six months’ worth of building.
The Past and Future of Social Networking
Zuckerberg opened up his press conference with a look into how we used and measured social media in the past, and how we will do the same in the future. Over the past five years social media has been focused on connecting people, noted Zuckerberg. “The chapter of connecting is more or less done by now,” said Zuckerberg.
With a focus shifting from user growth to sharing, he noted that creating the tools to increase sharing and interaction will be the future of social networking. The goal of Facebook in the next five years is to maintain a social infrastructure that is the wireframe for individual creation. With “profound exponential growth” already in place, Facebook aims to increase this rate of sharing as social networking evolves.
Zuckerberg also announced in the press conference that Facebook will continue to leave application development open to third party developers, allowing independent entrepreneurs that are best-in-class the power to create high-quality applications. Taking a passive-aggressive jab at Google, the Facebook CEO highlighted that, unlike other social networks, Facebook wouldn’t rely solely on internal talent to provide the highest quality services to its users.
New Facebook Features
As expected, Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of some pretty interesting features for Facebook at the press conference. Confirming speculation, one of the new features announced was the video chat integration via Skype, along with the Group Chat feature among friends and new, more streamlined chat design.
Since its launch last year, the redesigned Facebook Group feature is used by 50% of active accounts. A part of the Group redesign included the chat feature, which streamlined Facebook chat with group conversations. Facebook has now integrated that group feature on personal profiles, allowing users to chat with a multitude of friends in a chat room-like atmosphere.
New Chat Design
The new simplified design of the Facebook chat feature is simply a way for the social network to enact the most recent updates and future updates seamlessly. Chats now have the video option and group chat option built in, and messages to offline individuals will still be sent to that user’s inbox.
The most talked about feature launch of the “Awesome” press conference was the Video Calling feature, which is powered by Skype. Video calling requires the installation of a plugin upon receiving (or sending) one’s first initial call.
The video chat button is not only featured in the regular chat box, it is also now included as a button on the profile of Facebook friends. This feature announcement was greeted with applause from the audience, filling the video void on Facebook that Google Plus had recently filled with the “Hangout” feature. Zuckerberg cited that the best part of video is the ease of use for non-technical individuals and the ability to chat without any separate accounts or websites.
Before the press conference concluded, I hopped on to Facebook to test out the feature. Sure enough, Video Chat held true to its promise that it would launch and install in any broadband connections in under 30 seconds. The Facebook team also mentioned that mobile Video Chat for Facebook will be available in the future.
An “Awesome” Summary
The press conference held by Facebook today was not simply an announcement of new features, also a statement to Google insinuating that they are not afraid of what the future has in store.
Ironically, when an audience member asked Zuckerberg “What do you think about Google Hangouts?” the Facebook CEO was quick to avoid even letting the name “Google” slide off of his tongue. Instead, the Zuck continued to rant about how the collaboration with Skype was “super awesome.”
What do you think of Facebook’s latest feature announcements?