Facebook takes its Portal international, adds WhatsApp, Facebook Live support

At its F8 developer conference, Facebook today announced that it is launching its Portal video chat hardware internationally by bringing it to Canada and a select number of European countries, too. This rollout will begin in June in Canada, with Europe following this fall. In the U.S., Portal sells for $199 and $349, depending on the screen size. The company did not announce international pricing.

Portal originally only launched in the U.S. As the company’s co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted during his F8 keynote today, the service has done better than the company expected. Given that it launched right during some of Facebook’s biggest privacy scandals, that’s a bit of a surprise, though we don’t know what Facebook’s own expectations were, of course, or how many of the device it has sold.

In addition, Zuckerberg announced that its WhatsApp messenger is also coming to Portal. That means end-to-end encrypted video chats are coming to Portal, something that should reduce some of the privacy concerns around the device. “Now, you can be sure that when you’re having conversations with your friends and family, everything stays between you,” Zuckerberg said, though most current users probably hope that this has always been the case, even when using Portal without WhatsApp .

Later this summer, Portal will also get new AR effects and a story-reading mode. Starting today, Portal can also display photos from Instagram, and Facebook is building a mobile app that lets you display photos on the Portal. You can do that today, but it’s significantly more complicated because you need to create a private album just for Portal.

Coming soon, too, is the ability to send private video messages and Facebook Live support.

from Social – TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/30/facebook-takes-its-portal-international-adds-whatsapp-support/
via Superb Summers

Advertisements

Developers can now verify mobile app users over WhatsApp instead of SMS

Facebook today released a new SDK that allows mobile app developers to integrate WhatsApp verification into Account Kit for iOS and Android. This will allow developers to build apps where users can opt to receive their verification codes through the WhatsApp app installed on their phone, instead through SMS.

Today, many apps give users the ability to sign up using only a phone number — a now popular alternative to Facebook Login, thanks to the social network’s numerous privacy scandals which led to fewer people choosing to use Facebook with third-party apps. Plus, using phone numbers to sign up is common with a younger generation of users who don’t have Facebook accounts — and sometimes barely use email, except for joining apps and services.

When using a phone number to sign in, the app can confirm the user by sending a verification code over SMS to the number provided. The user then enters that code to create their account. This process can also be used when logging in, as part of a multi-factor verification system where a user’s account information is combined with this extra step for added security.

While this process is straightforward and easy enough to follow, SMS is not everyone’s preferred messaging platform. That’s particularly true in emerging markets like India, where 200 million people are on WhatsApp, for example. In addition, those without an unlimited messaging plan are careful not to overuse texting when it can be avoided.

That’s where the WhatsApp SDK comes in. Once integrated into an iOS or Android app, developers can offer to send users their verification code over WhatsApp instead of text messaging. They can even choose to disable SMS verification, notes Facebook.

This is all a part of WhatsApp’s Account Kit, which is a larger set of developer tools designed to allow people to quickly register and login to apps or websites using only a phone number and email, no password required.

This WhatsApp verification codes option has been available on WhatsApp’s web SDK since late 2018, but hadn’t been available with mobile apps until today.

 

from Social – TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/30/developers-can-now-verify-mobile-app-users-over-whatsapp-instead-of-sms/
via Superb Summers

Instagram will now let creators and influencers sell items directly

The monetization hose is on full blast at Instagram now, and today at F8, Facebook unveiled one of the latest developments on that front. The company said that creators will now be able to tag items to sell them directly to people viewing their posts and Stories.

For now, this will work only on items that are tagged from businesses that are part of the new checkout beta program Instagram is running in the U.S.

It’s also part of a bigger transactional swing that we’re seeing at Instagram that extends beyond just catering to consumerism and influencers speaking to Instagram’s billion-plus users.

Today Instagram also confirmed that it would be adding donation stickers in Stories — something we reported it was working on several months ago.

The tags that creators and influencers can now add is a significant development on product tagging, which up to now had been reserved just for businesses and brands, not open to individuals.

But the purpose for now doesn’t seem to be to help creators make commissions on those sales. Facebook tells us that “at this time,” creators will not make a cut on any purchases made as a result of anyone clicking on links in their posts (meaning: it may come down the line).

Rather, the point is to cut down on some of the repeat questions that creators get about what they are wearing, and where to buy it. “People are already shopping from creators by asking product questions in comments and Direct,” a spokesperson said. “With the ability to tag products, creators can provide the information their followers are looking for and get back to expressing themselves and sharing what’s on their mind, which will make their followers happy too.”

But they are not getting diddly, either. The spokesperson notes that creators will also receive additional insights with shopping posts, such as engagements and shopping insights. For those who are making a living out of their influencer status, these could help them leverage better deals with those brands, longer term.

Instagram will start testing first with a small group of creators over the next few weeks, including on the accounts of Gigi Hadid, Kim Kardashian West, Kris Jenner, Kylie Jenner and Leesa Angelique (who runs @saythelees). 

“It’s my job to share beauty secrets and tips,” she said about the new feature. “I’m usually writing long, detailed captions about the latest products I’ve been using. Having this tool just makes it that much easier to let everyone know what I’m wearing and from where – down to the shade.”

from Social – TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/30/instagram-will-now-let-creators-and-influencers-sell-items-directly/
via Superb Summers