10 Facebook Features To Help You Get Ahead
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Hot off its surprisingly successful second quarter in which Facebook beat Wall Street's estimates for revenue, earnings and mobile ad growth, the social network wasted no time this week announcing two new features -- and dodged questions related to another.
After nearly two years since first introducing the feature, Facebook said on Wednesday that it finally converted all users to HTTPS, or secure browsing. It also rolled out embedded posts and sidestepped rumors that it would soon add video ads in your news feed.
Here's a rundown of the news you may have missed.
Facebook Enables Secure Browsing
In 2011, Facebook gave users the option to enable HTTPS browsing -- a more secure option for users who frequently accessed the social network from public Wi-Fi spots such as coffee shops, airports and schools.
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Converting all Facebook users to HTTPS wasn't an easy task, said Scott Renfro, a Facebook software engineer, which is why the project took so long to complete. Now, when you access Facebook from anywhere -- your home network or via public Wi-Fi -- you'll notice a lock icon and "https" rather than "http" in the Web address. This means that your browser now communicates with Facebook using a secure connection, reducing the risk that your account could be hacked.
Site speed was a consideration in converting all users, Renfro said. Encrypted pages tend to take longer to load, which slows down performance. Facebook was able to avoid extra latency in most cases by making changes to its infrastructure.
Facebook Introduces Embedded Posts
Facebook's newest feature, "Embedded Posts," let people add public posts from Facebook to their blog or website. When embedded, posts can include pictures, videos, clickable hashtags and other content, Facebook said. Twitter and Instagram are two other social networks that also allow the capability.
Embedding posts is yet another move for Facebook toward encouraging public conversation and discovering news. In July, the social network announced it was expanding Graph Search, its new search capability that lets users "discovers topics, including posts and comments," it said.
Embedded Posts is rolling out gradually to all users, beginning with five news sites: CNN, Bleacher Report, Huffington Post, Mashable and People, it said. Once it's enabled, you'll be able to click an "Embed Post" link within your news feed or from the page's timeline. The link will appear in a menu where you currently see "Report/Mark as Spam." You will only be able to embed public posts.
Facebook Launches Video Ads
If you complain that your Facebook news feed is too cluttered as it is, brace yourself: According to reports from Bloomberg, which cites anonymous sources, the social network plans to sell TV-style ads that will appear in your stream alongside posts from your friends.
Facebook's video ads -- which will look a lot like short TV ads -- will reportedly last 15 seconds and be shown in your news feed no more than three times a day. These ads don't come cheap either: Depending on targeting options, they could cost companies up to $2.5 million per day.
There's still a lot unknown about these video ads, such as whether they'll be shown full-screen or in-line and whether they'll be placed at the top of your news feed -- to guarantee eyeballs for advertisers -- or interspersed within your news feed, which seems more user-friendly.