Facebook is reportedly going after the healthcare market. But why?

healthcare medical doctorSUMMARY: If the latest reports are true, Facebook is eyeing the healthcare industry. Here’s what that says about the company’s big-picture business strategy.

Facebook is going the way of Google. Instead of resting on its social media laurels, it’s diversifying its endeavors and expanding into new industries. First, it was mobile app development with the acquisition of mobile developer toolkit Parse and ad server Atlas. Then, virtual reality by buying up Oculus Rift.

Now Facebook is pondering healthcare, according to a report from Reuters. Unidentified sources said a team is exploring potential avenues, including creating discussion forums for particular illnesses and developing health apps, released separately from the Facebook name.

Much as with virtual reality, it’s not clear at first why healthcare would intrigue Facebook. It doesn’t appear to be uniquely positioned to tackle this market. But the company saw a high level of success with its organ donation awareness program. In addition, Facebook noticed its users posting on the site to get advice about health issues. Lastly, Mark Zuckerberg’s wife, Priscilla Chan, is finishing medical school and Zuckerberg has said in the past their family dinner discussions often revolve around healthcare.

We may get more information on Facebook’s plans soon. Next Thursday, the company will be presenting at the m.2014 Mobile Health and Innovation Conference, put on by Digitas Health.

Whatever forays Facebook makes, it’s clear Zuckerberg is considering a multi-pronged business effort, minimizing risk by making inroads into several industries. It’s a strategy that has paid off for Google, which has an exhaustive list of projects that have little to do with search — driverless cars, Glass, robotics, Gmail and Google+ among them. It’s a big enough list that when one product struggles, like Glass, Google leans on the success of others to keep shareholders happy, maintain its brand and grow.

Facebook is nowhere near that level of project diversity, but that doesn’t mean it can’t start building its portfolio now.

From: https://gigaom.com/


Facebook Experiments With Disappearing Posts

The ephemeral messaging apps space dominated by Snapchat keeps growing. Now it seems Facebook is adding to the trend again — in a whole new way.In a question and answer section on Facebook, the company now describes how to set a post you’ve published to expire, a process that allows the message to disappear.

Not everyone can do it, however. Under the question “How do I post something and set it to expire?” Facebook’s new answer cautions that states “setting posts to expire is only available in some areas right now.”

“We’re running a small pilot of a feature on Facebook for iOS that lets people schedule deletion of their posts in advance,” a Facebook spokesperson toldMashable. The company didn’t offer further details on how the process works.

The answer was first spotted by TheNextWeb, which reports some users are showing post-publishing deletion options of one hour to seven days.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has tried its hand at entering the disappearing message space. The Poke app, which was quietly shuttered earlier this year, was described by users as a near replica of Snapchat — the company that reportedly turned down Facebook’s $3 billion acquisition offer last year.

In recent months, the company launched a similar app, Slingshot, while Facebook-owned Instagram launched Bolt. Both apps focused, in part, on allowing users to send messages that can expire.

From: mashable.com

Facebook apologizes for rejecting dad’s ad to help baby


Facebook has apologised to a father after rejecting his advertisement on the social networking site asking people to donate money for his two-month-old son’s heart transplant.

NEW YORK: Facebook has apologised to a father after rejecting his advertisement on the social networking site asking people to donate money for his two-month-old son’s heart transplant.Hudson Bond has been diagnosed with the heart disease called cardiomyopathy (pertaining to abnormal heart muscle).

Bond’s parents sought Facebook’s help to raise $75,000 needed for the surgery by posting the baby’s photo in a hospital bed, ABC11 reported.

Facebook replied to the ad, saying the photo was “scary, gory or sensational and evokes a negative response”.

“Images including accidents, car crashes, dead and dismembered bodies, ghosts, zombies, ghouls and vampires are not allowed,” it replied.

Later, Facebook issued an apology, allowing the photo to stay on the site.

(Picture courtesy: Hudson’s Heart page on Facebook)

“I read Facebook’s response on media outlets. They apologised for the inconvenience this caused my family,” father Kevin Bond said in a Facebook post.

According to Facebook, the post could now be boosted to amplify its reach.

The family has so far raised almost $30,000 for Hudson’s heart transplant.

From: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Facebook Is Working On A Way To Share Music, TV, And Movies Using Your Mic On Android And iOS

In an effort to further diversify the content of status updates (which consist 115% of political arguments and babies being cute), Facebook is working on a way to help users share what they’re listening to with others. No, the social network won’t turn into a file-sharing site, but it should at least help friends give some attention to the same artists or performers you enjoy.


When writing a status update, users will have the option to enable their microphone and have the app listen to whatever’s playing. As long as the feature’s enabled, an audio icon will display as you type your new status. If the app picks up on a TV show, song, or the like, it will prompt you to add it to your post. For music, Facebook will share 30 seconds of the song with your friends. With TV shows, it will display which season and episode you are watching.

Look for the feature to roll out in the weeks ahead.

From: www.androidpolice.com

Facebook crosses 100 million user mark in India

Facebook, the world’s largest social media company, has crossed 100 million active users in India — the second country, after the United States, in which it has done so. “We crossed the landmark on March 31,” Javier Olivan, vice-president, growth & analytics, Facebook, told ET on a video call from its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on April 7.
The ascent of Facebook in India has been speedy and has been powered by the mobile phone. When the American company set up its first India office in 2010, in Hyderabad, it had 8 million users in the country. Further, according to Facebook, 84 million of its 100 million users in India access the social networking site from their mobile devices.
Facebook, which was set up in 2004, had 1.23 billion users across the world, as of December 31, 2013. “If Facebook continues its current growth trajectory, we can see it as a core communications tool for the world,” says Neha Dharia, analyst with UK-based research firm Ovum. “This besides being a media platform where users can share and engage in a range of media such as videos, pictures and games. We expect to see a stronger move around storage (cloud-based) and utility services from Facebook.”
For Facebook, the US remains its biggest market, with about 183 million users, though perhaps not for long, given the inflexion point India is at with regards to Internet usage, especially on the mobile. According to Olivan, who is one of the three people in the company who report directly to founder Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook is now “looking forward” to 1 billion users in India, a numerical figure it intends to chase with specific initiatives aimed at increasing connectivity, affordability and relevance. “That (1 billion) is a different focus and challenge,” he says.
Olivan says much of the challenge of going from 1 million to 10 million in India was about optimising the product for users. For example, removing the condition that a user needed to have an email ID of an American college to access Facebook. From 10 million to 100 million, he adds, it was about improving experience on low-end devices and offering it in languages other than English. “For 1 billion, we need easy connectivity, the biggest challenge of our generation,” he says.

One of the initiatives it is focused on to widen connectivity is internet.org, a partnership it has with six mobile technology companies to provide affordable Internet access to the unconnected. It is also working with telecom companies to increase data adoption among users in emerging markets like India. On this trajectory, it’s only a matter of time before the Facebook user base in India crosses that of the US.

From: www.techgig.com

India leads the race in reporting bugs on Facebook in 2013

NEW DELHI: India, which accounts for over 93 million Facebook users, reported the largest number of bugs under the social networking giant’s bug bounty programme last year.

The California-headquartered firm said it received a total of 14,763 submissions in 2013, of which 687 bugs were found to be valid and eligible to receive rewards.

A bug is an error or defect in a software or hardware that causes a programme to malfunction. It often occurs due to conflicts in software when applications try to run in tandem.

The social networking platform, which has over 1.2 billion users globally, paid $1.5 million last year to security researchers who report bugs on its website.

“India contributed the largest number of valid bugs at 136, with an average reward of $1,353. The US reported 92 issues and averaged $2,272 in rewards,” Facebook said in a post.

Brazil and the UK were third and fourth by volume, with 53 bugs and 40 bugs and average rewards of $3,792 and $2,950, respectively, it added.

Researchers in Russia earned the highest amount per report in 2013, receiving an average of $3,961 for 38 bugs, Facebook said.

It said: “We’ve paid over $2 million since we got started in 2011, and in 2013 we paid out $1.5 million to 330 researchers across the globe.”

The average reward in 2013 was $2,204, and most bugs were discovered in non-core properties, such as websites operated by companies the firm had acquired, it added.

“2014 is looking good so far. The volume of high-severity issues is down, and we’re hearing from researchers that it’s tougher to find good bugs,” Facebook said.

The social networking site said it will encourage best research in the most valuable areas and will continue to increase its reward amounts for high priority issues.

From: www.techgig.com

Facebook’s Hack is a dream come true for engineers

Facebook just released a new programming language, aptly named Hack, that will let programmers write code faster while more easily avoiding errors.

Hack hits a sweet-spot by combining elements of both static and dynamic languages. Meaning, programmers can retain all the speed they’d have with a dynamic language (like PHP or Ruby), while also catching mistakes before runtime with early error detection traditionally only seen with static language.

The company has migrated almost all of its PHP-based site to Hack over the last year (one of the beauties of Hack is that it coexists seamlessly with PHP files). Facebook has now made the language open-source, meaning that any engineer can use it and help improve it.

Business Insider connected with Gabe Levi, one of the engineers who led most of Facebook’s conversion to Hack, and he answered our questions via email:

How do you think that other companies / programmers will benefit from using Hack?

Hack helps you write correct code faster. Hack adds safety nets while avoiding slowing you down and adds language features that make coding in Hack more enjoyable. Converting PHP code to Hack is easy and can be done gradually, as PHP and Hack work together when run with HHVM. The use case can range from one person working on an app to a scale computing company like Facebook. We’re putting Hack out there along with an improved HHVM because it can be relevant to everyone.

How does it feel to have completed a project that will increase speed for the entire FB engineering team?

It is immensely satisfying to build useful things for your friends, and that’s what we’ve had the opportunity to do.

Any moments stand out when working on this project as particularly memorable breakthroughs?

I consider Hack the product of a lot of hard work and a tight feedback loop with our original users, the engineers at Facebook. There are many great, original ideas in Hack, but our success at Facebook was the result of a lot of fine tuning rather than large breakthroughs.

Why’d you choose New York instead of the Valley to work?

The standard reason: a girl. I worked for Facebook in California until I started dating a smart, beautiful Facebook NY recruiter who laughed at my jokes. She convinced me to move to New York, which was a pretty easy sell!