The world’s largest social network is only getting larger every day. As Facebook adds more users, it is also improving how people can use it. From introducing new services to simplifying existing tools, a lot has changed at Facebook in the recent past.
It can be difficult to track all the changes. The company evolves and iterates constantly, like it should. Unfortunately, that means you might have missed an important new Facebook feature.
You might know some Facebook tricks and features you should be using, but it never hurts to see what’s come out of Menlo Park recently.
1. Get Recommendations From Friends
When you ask friends for suggestions for the best pizza in town, they will now be able to tag the actual restaurant’s Facebook page. These pages will show up in a map, with complete details about each restaurant.
Just switch on the new “Recommendations” option for any post, and people will be able to add their thoughts. To speed up the process, go to the Recommendations section on Facebook to ask for or dole out advice.
Soon, Facebook will also be rolling out the ability to book an appointment for a business directly through these recommendations, get a quote, or place a food order.
2. Marketplace, the Craigslist Alternative
Craigslist is a wonderful place to buy and sell old items, but it’s fraught with risk too. In a world of strangers, you need to learn how to avoid scams on Craigslist. This also holds true for eBay or any other second hand seller.
On the other hand, Facebook’s community is full of real people. Marketplace lets you sell or buy stuff from these individuals, who are supposedly less likely to take you for a ride. It uses Facebook’s geolocation to show ads in your vicinity.
Marketplace is currently available in U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. It doesn’t feature any sort of payment system, so the onus is still on you and the buyer to sort that out.
3. Play Videos on TV With Chromecast and Apple TV
Watching a Facebook video is a fullscreen experience, stopping you from anything else. Sometimes, all you need is the audio. It’s easier to switch tabs on the desktop, but what do you do on a smartphone?
You can creatively use the Chromecast for a lot of cool stuff. Add “watching Facebook videos” to that list. If you’re on an iOS or Android device, you can now cast Facebook videos to your big-screen TV from the mobile app. It also works with Apple TV and any AirPlay-compliant device.
It’s a nice way to keep your video running in the background on the TV, while you go back to browsing the timeline as usual.
4. Save Videos on Android
Loved the Facebook video of your grandkids? If you’re on Android, you can now save it to your hard drive. That way, you save data costs, and can even watch it when your internet isn’t working.
Tap the menu next to any video on Facebook to see a new Save This Video option. As long as your data or Wi-Fi connection is on, Facebook will download the video. You can then watch this clip at any time by going to Saved Videos in the Facebook app. However, the videos can only be watched through Facebook.
Of course, you’ll need the latest version of Facebook for Android to do this. The feature is unavailable on the stripped-down Facebook Lite.
Download — Facebook for Android (Free)
5. Messenger Lite Cuts the Fat
Last year, the Facebook Lite cut the bloat of the official app, making for a leaner and faster experience on mobiles. Facebook Lite was also compatible with older hardware and used less storage space. This year, Messenger got the same treatment with Messenger Lite.
Messenger Lite is the app we’ve all been waiting for. The official Messenger app takes a whole lot of resources on your phone, especially data and battery. Messenger Lite is lighter on resources, and takes very little storage space as well.
It’s a fuss-free solution to simple chats, devoid of extras like video calling, stickers, and so on. If you don’t chat regularly on Messenger, you won’t miss any of those things. And you’ll be glad you have a fully functional Messenger app nonetheless.
Download — Messenger Lite for Android (Free)
Messenger Lite is available in select markets right now, but you can manually install the app on Android. As always, APK Mirror is the recommended virus-free site to get the installer from.
Download — Messenger Lite for Android APK (Free)
6. Encrypt Messenger With Secret Conversations
After Edward Snowden’s revelations about how governments violate citizens’ privacy, data protection is the need of the hour. Facebook-owned WhatsApp has enabled end-to-end encryption. And now, the mother company has implemented that for its Messenger app, too.
To turn on encrypted conversations, you’ll need the full version of Messenger, not Messenger Lite. Tap New Conversation > Secret > Recipient to being an encrypted, off-the-record chat with one of your friends.
To encrypt an existing conversation, open the message, tap the recipient’s name, and tap “Secret Conversation”.
Secret Conversations aren’t available to all users yet. The feature is being rolled out gradually.
7. Facebook Events Mobile App
People on FB often post about their upcoming events, inviting you to join in. Event managers and advertisers also do this, even though it might not show up on your timeline. To help you manage interesting events, Facebook made a new Events app.
The app tracks awesome events based on time, location, or your interests. It draws attention to events announced by Pages you like, as well as those your friends are likely to attend.
Events includes a map to pan-and-scan around an area to find something to do. And there’s a built-in calendar to manage your social life.
Download — Events from Facebook for iOS (Free) or for Android (Coming Soon)
8. Facebook Workplace for Office Pals
Some people like a little bit of distance between their personal lives and professional lives. Others like it to overlap. This clash of personalities leads to tricky situations in offices, especially when it comes to Facebook friend requests or your boss seeing what you did on Saturday night.
Facebook Workplace is a simple solution to a common problem. Now you can set up a Facebook for colleagues, available only by using the company-provided email address. It lets you talk more openly with colleagues about inside jokes and processes, which would be lost on your timeline of family and friends.
While you can create a private social network, Facebook Workplace is a system that doesn’t require anyone to learn something new. Plus, the pricing is pretty reasonable. It starts at $3 per user per month.
Which Facebook Feature Excites You Most?
Out of the several new features and apps rolled out by Facebook, Messenger Lite is my absolute favorite. The regular Messenger app drains data, RAM, and battery on Android phones. Messenger Lite is the app I’ve always wanted.
Which of these new announcements by Facebook has got you most excited? What are you looking forward to next from Zuckerberg’s minions?