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With giant apps like Facebook, you sometimes find that little changes creep in without you noticing. Some are good, some are bad, but all of them make the landscape ever so slightly different. Also, they can be extremely useful. Facebook’s latest crop of improvements are actually pretty big news.
If you’ve been following the news, you have probably already heard about Facebook’s latest collection of cool new tools to use. If not, here’s a quick run-down: You can now add photos in comments; Using Facebook’s Instagram app, you can upload shake-free videos; you can “like” messages; and Facebook now has hashtags. Now, we’ll take a closer look at each of these tools and show you how you can make use of them.
Photos In Comments
Until now, when you commented on someone else’s post, it had to be either as a text comment or a link. Links would generally be expanded to show a thumbnail (and there are tricks to add the thumbnail image to Facebook if it doesn’t work), but that was the only color you would see in the comment section. That’s all changed with the addition of images in Facebook comments. If you click on the camera icon in the comments, you can choose an image to upload from your hard drive. This image will be shown inline, with the size adjusted so that it can be seen in its entirety without cropping. This is much better to view than a thumbnail image from a link, and will allow for some interesting responses. One day, it is expected that users will also be able to take a photo using their webcam or phone camera using this button, thus making quick work of delivering a real facial expression as a response.
15 Second Video From Instagram
Instagram, which is now a part of Facebook, have just launched their 15-second video service. It’s a lot like Twitter’s Vine service, and will probably be used in a very similar way. People can use this via their Instagram app on their phone, but with Facebook integration the post will also be featured on your Facebook timeline. All you need to do is click on the movie icon in Instagram to get started. Using filters, you can style your video to suit your mood. If you’re using an iPhone 5 or 4S you can also stabilize your video using “cinema mode”, which should sharpen up your footage substantially.
You may think that Instagram is a step apart from Facebook (and technically it is), but Facebook is integrating the service more and more. Images and video created using Instagram are featured quite prominently on the Facebook Timeline for all your friends to see.
Just like Twitter, Facebook now has hashtags. This means you can now put a hash # in front of a word in your update to categorize your update and make it easier to find. For instance, if you’re making a comment about something you’re watching on TV, you can add the relevant hashtag to your post. Anyone on Facebook who wants to chat to other people watching that show can follow the show’s hashtag, see your update and make a comment. Of course, the visibility of your comment will depend entirely on your privacy settings. If you’re updating publicly, anyone might comment on your post. In order to make it easy to follow things related to your interests, you may now findyou have listed on your timeline.
Facebook Like Button In Messages
When someone sends you a message via Facebook and you’re just too lazy to respond properly, it’s now possible to “like” their message. There’s no need to add any text to your message, you just click on the “thumbs up” symbol. Currently, this is only available from the mobile apps, but surely will be rolled out site-wide soon. It may seem like a small thing, but it means you can very quickly give the go-ahead when someone sends you a message like “I was thinking of grabbing some beer on the way to your place”. It’s such a quick response that you may even get away with it during a work meeting. Not that you would.
More Recent Tools
Which of these is your favorite new tool? What will you use it for? Tell us in the comments!