Many of us think that Facebook is best for posting pictures of our babies and cats or espousing our views of political candidates, but the company has much, much, much bigger plans. Much.
Despite the fact that kids see Facebook as a fuddy-duddy tool (check out my interview with a couple of teens as well as this video), Facebook thinks it can provide everything you need in an app from now until the internet dies. Are you ready to use Facebook as a work communication tool, a phone and an all-knowing virtual assistant? Here’s just a small sample of the features they’re adding or expanding.
1. Facebook as Photo Album
We’ve been sharing the pictures of our lives on Facebook forever, and the company’s engineers want to make it even easier. Soon you’ll be able to create virtual scrapbooks of your kids and let your partners add to it, plus you can upload higher-quality photos. In addition, Facebook shows you memories of older posts to help you keep sharing your old pictures and stories.
2. Facebook as Life Monitor
Isn’t it exhausting to use one app to check the weather, another to see when and where a new movie is playing and yet another to keep up with your favorite sports? Facebook can do it all with new notifications called “Cards” that keep you up to date based on the pages you like, the places you visit and the people you know.
3. Facebook as Siri
Sometime in the near future, Facebook will release its new personal assistant feature called M. M will let you ask questions just like you can with Siri and Cortana, and since the platform knows an incredible amount of information about you, I imagine that you’ll find the service quite creepy but very on point and helpful.
4. Facebook as Newspaper
In the past, most of the news links you clicked in Facebook took you to external sites, which added, I don’t know, maybe 10 seconds to your access time. Now you can reclaim that time with Instant Articles, a feature that embeds news into the Facebook app so you don’t have to leave.
5. Facebook as Google
With Facebook’s expanded search feature, you no longer have to leave the app to search for important topics where you will discover not only facts but conversations your friends are having about that topic. You no longer have to ponder Kim Kardashian’s fashion choices alone again! Whew.
6. Facebook at Work
Facebook wants you to use a professional version of Messenger at the office to chat about critical work decisions like where to get the best donuts to bring to the staff meeting. The move is part of a growing trend to bring social networking-type tools into the workplace to increase collaboration and cut down on email clutter.
With Facebook at Work, employees can either create separate accounts for work or use their personal logins to create an integrated work/life tool.
7. Facebook as YouTube
You may have heard about Facebook’s new move to compete with YouTube as the biggest platform for sharing videos. When businesses upload video directly to Facebook, their posts show up more often in their followers’ feeds, meaning they can get a lot more play. Facebook videos are so popular now that they’re dealing with copyright violations with people grabbing videos from YouTube and reposting them to Facebook without giving credit.
8. Facebook as Phone
You don’t even have to have a Facebook account to use Messenger these days, and now you can pretty much communicate with anyone anywhere by just knowing a name — or that is how Facebook is trying to set things up with recent changes to Facebook Message Requests. You can also make audio and video calls from Messenger, so who needs a real phone?
9. Facebook as Blog
A lifetime ago (technology wise), Facebook let people capture their long-form thoughts with a section called Notes. It pretty much sucked, and no one used it. But they’re putting time and effort into a facelift in an effort to compete with the popular blogging site Medium.