Facebook poaches Google’s ATAP lead to head its new hardware division

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Regina Dugan – who ran Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects division – has joined Facebook.

Dugan will be heading up Building 8, a new Facebook group that CEO Mark Zuckerberg says will be “focused on building new hardware products to advance our mission of connecting the world.”

Zuckerberg wrote:

At Google, Dugan led ATAP – which started out as a division of Motorola. When Motorola was sold to Lenovo in 2014, ATAP moved back to Google proper. Even after the Alphabet shakeup last year, ATAP remained part of Google.

Dugan’s mission at ATAP was to “do some epic shit” (her words) and she oversaw stuff like Project Tango as well as smart fabrics and modular phones. Last year, ATAP launched Project Fi, Google’s first efforts at becoming a wireless carrier. Read more...

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Facebook Messenger bots are here and they want to kill apps

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As predicted, developers can now build bots inside Facebook Messenger.

The announcement was one of the highlights of Facebook’s jam-packed F8 schedule and it further proves what many have been predicting for a long time, bots are the future.

Right now, the bots that are available are more limited – and the discovery process isn’t perfect – but it’s clear now, more than ever, that bots make a lot of sense.

Beyond that, Messenger’s bot strategy speaks to a few realities of modern computing and communication.

Don’t make me talk to you on the phone

Like many millenials, I don’t spend a lot of time on the phone. I talk to sources and companies for my job, but most of my personal communication takes place through text (or if I’m feeling especially outgoing, Snapchat). Read more...

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Facebook hopes to kill the username and password

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At its F8 developer conference, Facebook announced Account Kit, a new way for app developers to let users sign up for services with an email or phone number, no username or password required.

An extension of the existing Facebook login system, Account Kit is designed for developers who want an easy way for users to create accounts without having to sign in using Facebook.

Account Kit lets developers drop in code that will speed up the account-creation process. Instead, a user can use an email address or phone number. Users will receive a confirmation message via SMS or email to get setup. Read more...

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You can now build bots for Facebook Messenger

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At its F8 developer conference, Facebook unveiled a new Messenger platform that allows developers to build bots inside Facebook Messenger.

Bots are hot; they could even be the future.

At its a heart, a bot is nothing more an an app that runs automated tasks based on input. So “run backup” could have a bot that backs up your data to Dropbox or whatever.

The modern era of chat bots work with chat apps – including Messenger – and use real language to determine what task to complete.

In the demo early in his keynote, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed how bots inside Messenger could deliver news to users using CNN. Read more...

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Soon you’ll be able to buy concert tickets on Facebook

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Soon, you’ll be able to buy those highly sought-after Beyoncé tickets through Ticketmaster, directly on Facebook.

The feature – which is supposed to launch at the end of April – was first reported by BuzzFeed News.

In addition to buying tickets from Facebook – presumably on event or artist pages – users will also able to get tickets from Facebook Messenger’s assistant, M.

The news comes just ahead of Facebook’s F8 developer conference, where Messenger bots are expected to be a big part of the social giants announcements.

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As Apple vs. FBI looms, WhatsApp and others look to increase encryption

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As the battle between Apple and the FBI heats up over encryption, it's increasingly clear this isn't just about one iPhone.

A New York Times article on Saturday reported that the Department of Justice is worried about the encryption on apps such as WhatsApp.

According to The Times, the encryption built into WhatsApp has stymied Justice Department attempts at wiretapping. Even with a judge's wiretap order, WhatsApp's encryption prevents law enforcement from reading or intercepting messages sent on its platform. Read more...

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‘Disappointed’ Mark Zuckerberg responds to India’s partial Facebook ban

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has responded to the news that India's telecom regulator has banned the company's Free Basics program.

Free Basics, which began as part of Facebook's Internet.org project, allowed subscribers to Reliance — the biggest telecom in India — free access to Internet services.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Zuckerberg wrote that "while we're disappointed with today's decision, I want to personally communicate that we are committed to keep working to break down barriers to connectivity in India and around the world."

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LOL is so over: Facebook study reveals ‘haha’ is how we laugh online

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If you laugh online, it's probably with a "haha" or an emoji — at least, that's according to some interesting data analysis from Facebook.

Intrigued by an article in The New Yorker, Facebook decided to post the results of an in-depth look into how we laugh online.

The four most commonly used online laughs — according to Facebook's data — are "haha," an emoji, a variation of "hehe," followed by the classic "lol." "Haha" was far and away the most common type of online laugh, with 51.4% of the people in Facebook's dataset using some variation of that e-laugh online. Read more...

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Meerkat’s new Cameo feature lets other users join your video stream

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Live streaming app Meerkat on Wednesday released what might just be its biggest update yet with features that allow users to invite others into their stream, better Facebook integration and the ability to store your library of clips for the future.

The first big feature is called Cameo and it could be a game-changer in the world of live streaming apps.

The genesis behind Meerkat (and similar apps such as Twitter's Periscope) is to allow users to easily stream their video feed with a broader audience in real-time.

With Cameo, Meerkat is turning that idea on its head. Instead of just letting users stream what they see to others, Meerkat is also going to let users invite their viewers to "take over" their live streams for 60 seconds at a time. Read more...

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Rejoice: Facebook gets GIF support. Here’s everything you need to know.

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Prepare yourselves — Facebook now has serviceable GIF support.

That's right children, you can now post GIFs to Facebook and have them display not only inline, but in the mobile app as well.

Longtime Facebook users (read: old people like me who have been using the service since it was for college students only), will recall that if offered GIF support in the very early days. The ability to embed or upload GIFs was removed a decade ago, probably because of the negative impacts a ton of GIFs in the Newsfeed had on the product. Read more...

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