What you need to know
- A report shows Facebook is testing a photos-only mode within its app.
- 'Popular photos' uses an algorithm to generate a photos-only feed for users.
- It could offer users an Instagram-esque escape from Facebook's regular content.
A report this week suggests that Facebook is quietly testing a photos-only mode for its mobile app, that would allow users to see algorithmically suggested photos in a feed similar to Instagram.
According to a TechCrunch report, the 'Popular Photos' feature generates an endless feed of photos from your friends in a full-screen view, generating a user experience that feels a lot like Instagram. Very simply, the feature allows users who tap on a photo in their News Feed or on a profile to begin scrolling through more images as a feed, much like 'Related Videos.'
The report suggests:
Popular Photos could offer users a more relaxing, lean-back browsing experience that omits links you have to click through, status updates you have to read, and other content types that bog down the News Feed. Instead, users can just passively watch the pretty pictures go by.
Facebook's text and link-heavy feed looks increasingly stodgy and exhausting compared to visual communication-based social networks like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. Users have to do the work of digging into the meaning of News Feed each post rather than being instantly entertained. That experience doesn't fit as well into short browsing sessions throughout the day, or when users are already drained from work, school, or family. Facebook used to have a dedicated Photos bookmark on desktop that would let you just browse that content type, but at some point, it disappeared.
A Facebook spokesperson has reportedly confirmed that it had indeed been testing the feature in October, around the time TechCrunch spotted it. The trial has since concluded, and the feature is being worked on with future tests in mind. It declined to disclose any more details about the motivation behind the feature. But it seems reasonable to suggest that Facebook is perhaps looking to build on the successful model of Instagram, which it of course owns. As TechCrunch suggests, it may well be that Facebook is trying to offer its users some form of relief from the swathe of written content on its site, much of which has become saturated with political opinions, making it frankly exhausting to look at. There is no confirmed timescale as to when Facebook may resume testing of the feature.
Buy a Synology NAS to boost your home network storage productivity!
With a network attached storage enclosure, you can easily back up data from all devices on your home network, and you can use it as a powerful media server. With options starting off from just $100, these are the best Synology NAS enclosures for home use.
At this point, Google should just launch the Pixel 4a with the Pixel 5
With delay after delay pushing back the Pixel 4a's launch into July and possibly August, it would make a lot of sense for Google to simply call it the Pixel 5a and launch it alongside the Pixel 5 in October.
Google is playing the long game with its hardware company acquisitions
Why does Google keep buying companies that it doesn't always know what to do with?
Time to dump Chrome: 8 alternative desktop web browsers
If you getting frustrated with the lack of privacy, slower speeds or difficulty using extensions in Chrome, it's time to switch to one of these web browsers.