Bonfire, a group calling mobile app with next-generation features, is quietly rolling out on the iTunes App Store adn Google Play. This app is being developed by Facebook, and it may signal the direction that instant messaging and personal communications will be handled by the social media giant in the near future.
The app is currently being tested primarily in Denmark, a country known for its excellent wireless broadband infrastructure. Bonfire can accommodate up to nine callers in a single video chat session; early user reviews indicate that the app works flawlessly and without any noticeable lag. Facebook is borrowing a page from the Snapchat strategy book by adding quite a few stickers, filters and augmented reality features to Bonfire.
When users first install Bonfire to their smartphones or tablets, they only have access to about a dozen stickers and filters; additional features can be downloaded as desired. Naturally, a Facebook account is required to use Bonfire; video calls can be started with simple invitations that are as intuitive as those found in Snapchat; one of the best features of Bonfire is the ability to instantly share and post conversation snapshots to Instagram or Facebook.
Although Bonfire will eventually become an integral component of the mobile Facebook experience, the current version and user interface mostly resembles Instagram. The target audience is clearly younger users since they are the most likely to engage in group video calling these days. It is readily apparent that Facebook wants to offer younger users as many features as Snapchat does; to this effect, the augmented reality extras and the stickers are mostly fun features that younger users are more likely to enjoy.
An interesting aspect of the current Bonfire test by Facebook is that it somewhat resembles what Google has been doing over the last few years: testing different messaging apps and retiring those that do not perform as strongly as expected. Google currently has four major messaging apps, and they are not entirely compatible with each other.
Facebook recently announced the use of IA to detect worrisome posts emanating from its users: posts that suggest that a user is on the brink of committing suicide. The AI technology employed by Facebook scans posts from users and can locate suspicious posts which it highlights to human moderators. The technology will drastically reduce the time between when such posts are made and when Facebook makes an effort to help out the individuals involved. What’s more, the AI will also classify user reports based on urgency.
While the Facebook’s artificial intelligence system can identify posts from mentally ill people, are the human moderators ready to offer assistance to such people? TechCrunch reports that Facebook is dedicating a significant number of moderators to suicide prevention; this involves training them to deal with cases at whatever time of the day. Also, Facebook has some new partners in its mission to stem suicide on its platform. They include Save.org, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, etc. So far, Facebook has initiated over 100 “wellness check.” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s VP of product management emphasizes that the social media’s AI is tailored to reduce the time between when disturbed user posts a comment or uses Facebook Live and when first responders reach out to the user.
There is no doubt Facebook means well with its AI technology, but experts are raising questions regarding its use. Could the technology be misused? Well, Facebook does not have all the answers at this point, and Rosen explains that Facebook saw an opportunity to help and the social media giant embarked on it. Notably, users cannot opt out of the AI tech scanning their posts.
Rosen states that mental experts had an input in the development of Facebook’s AI. According to him, many ways of stopping suicide exist but connecting distressed people with their family and friends beats them all. Facebook is in a unique position to connect people at risk not only to their friends or family but also organizations that can assist them.
It is now clear that social media giant Facebook has more surprises in store for its users. The live video streaming option on the app was seemingly revolutionary enough, as it allowed users to share an activity happening around them in real time. Users went ahead to create activities of their own as a way of optimizing what the app had to offer.
Facebook has added to the Facebook Explore menu a pick-up and delivery option, where users across the country can request for deliveries directly from the Facebook page of a restaurant.
The idea is based on allowing users to a number of things without necessarily leaving Facebook. The new Order Food menu under the Explore hosts a collection of several restaurants through which users can browse and make an order. Some of the featured restaurants have their own deliver apps and users do not have to recall what app a restaurant uses while browsing through Facebook for them to make an order.
This additional app is likely to disrupt the way restaurants reach out to customers on Facebook. Facebook VP ,Alex Himel says that there are over 70 million businesses on Facebook and restaurants make quite a sizeable chunk. Restaurants also have the option to disable the delivery button that pops up when a user chooses a restaurant.
Facebook, however, has a daunting task of engaging each provider as it makes effort to link individual restaurant apps to their respective Facebook pages. Himel further said that the new option has the ability to save information on user searches, making it a reference point when users come back to order again.
Order delivery is becoming a competitive option in the food business with restaurants putting in much effort to satisfy customer needs. This new addition by Facebook will no doubt go a long way in boosting the efforts by eateries in providing this service.
Apple is always on the move and always innovating. Maybe that is why the stock price seems to do so well so consistently. Debuting new products absolutely helps Apple succeed in the tech marketplace. The recent arrival of the new Business Chat continues the legacy of Apple’s ability to give the tech-craving public something else it wants or needs.
Business Chat is a rather generic name, but the name does get across what the new program does. The goal is to help facilitate business and customer service communications. The broader goal is more pronounced. Apple wants to use Business Chat to massively compete with Facebook Messenger. Business Chat is to take over the popular iMessage platform to the next level.
Expanded functions with Business Chat take the program to the proverbial next level and better increase chances for success.
New apps and programs find the road to public acceptance and popularity difficult. People like new things. They like new and improved things even more. What they do not like is uncertainty. Programs and apps bearing a name of a company they never heard of concerns them. With Apple, none of these problems arise. Apple is the quintessential tech company. Millions of loyal customers around the world faithfully purchase new releases. Customers who purchased Apple products for personal or business use in the past are sure to be enthusiastic about Business Chat.
Why did it take Apple so long to release a competitor to Facebook Messenger?
The Apple Watch puts forth an answer. The Apple Watch was bug-riddled and an embarrassment. The branding of the Apple Watch was ruined. Even fixing the watch brings forth no real solution. The name has been harmed in the public’s eye. As a whole, Apple is forgiven but the individual product is ruined. Management doubtfully wants to see the same thing occur with Business Chat.
Choosing to wait until business chat is near perfect makes sense. Apple’s brain trust knows what it’s doing.