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Facebook Rolls Out ‘Watch Party’ Communal Video Viewing Option to All Groups

The social networking giant, however, did not disclose if the feature would be made available for regular profiles anytime soon

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Facebook has launched a new feature called “Watch Party” that allows members of the social network’s groups to watch videos on Facebook together in real time, and comment.

The launch of this feature on Wednesday after about six months of testing reveals Facebook’s plans to go aggressive on the video streaming space that could help the social networking giant to compete against Google’s YouTube.

“Once a Watch Party is started, participants can watch videos, live or recorded, and interact with one another around them in the same moment,” Erin Connolly, Product Manager at Facebook, said in a statement.

To utilise this new feature, members of any Facebook group need to search a video on the platform and invite others to join them. A chat window then opens up for the members to have a discussion on the video as it plays.

On the global launch of the feature, Facebook also added two new features that were not available at the test phase.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

It added a co-hosting feature, which lets the host of a Watch Party designate other co-hosts who can add videos and keep the party going.

Facebook also added crowdsourcing feature, which allows group members to suggest videos for the host to add to the Watch Party.

Facebook also revealed that Watch Party will not be limited to Facebook groups alone. It is now planning to roll out the feature for Pages, which generally refer to profiles of public figures and other organisations.

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“We are now starting to test the ability for people to start Watch Parties with friends outside of groups, too, and we’ll explore Watch Parties for Pages in the future,” Connolly said.

“We believe that if people can start a Watch Party directly from their profile or from a video they’re watching, the experience of watching video on Facebook can become even more fun and social,” Connolly added.

The social networking giant, however, did not disclose if the feature would be made available for regular profiles anytime soon. (IANS)

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Social Networking Giant Facebook To Develop Camera-Equipped Set-top Box For TVs

Facebook declined to comment on the subject, the report added

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Facebook likely to launch camera-equipped hardware for TVs. Pixabay

Social networking giant Facebook is developing a camera-equipped set-top box for TVs that would support functionalities like video-calling, a media report said.

Internally codenamed “Ripley”, the device would use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automatically detect and follow people as they move through the frame during a video call, news website Cheddar reported on Tuesday.

Apart from facilitating video-chat, the device could also help Facebook compete with the likes of Apple and Amazon in the TV-segment.

In October, the social networking major launched its smart-speakers — “Portal” — which incorporated AI technology to follow user-movements while on a video-chat amd remove unwanted background noise during a call.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Priced at $199, sporting a 10-inch display, built-in Amazon Alexa support and pre-loaded with Facebook’s own “Watch” video service, the smart speakers would begin shipping in November.

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With projects like “Portal” and “Ripley” Facebook is trying to build a consumer-hardware business outside of its virtual reality brand ‘Oculus’ that was acquired by the social networking giant in March 2014 for nearly $2 billion.

Facebook declined to comment on the subject, the report added. (IANS)

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