After being in testing for several weeks, Facebook has begun rolling out one of the biggest changes to its app in recent memory: introducing a Videos tab alongside the regular news feed.
Sporting a dark theme for a pleasant viewing experience, the videos tab is easily accessible via a button located alongside the News Feed, Friend Requests, and Notifications.
Facebook’s huge push on videos – live videos, in particular – is evident in this tab. Where the regular news feed shows you content from friends and Pages that are sorted via its complex algorithms, the first thing you’ll see on the Videos tab is a side-scrolling feed called “Live Around the World”.
Live videos load noticeably quickly on WiFi and mobile data, as if users are watching a regular video. When watching a live video, viewers can comment and add a reaction, which pops up like bubbles on the bottom right of the screen (similar to other social live-streaming apps like Periscope and 17).
The uploader will be able to see the comments in real time, and in this way allows them interact with viewers. It will be particularly interesting how this feature will be used by personalities, official Pages, or even broadcast channels, as it opens up an instantaneous two-way interaction with the audience.
Below the Facebook Live feed lies the regular video feed. Videos displayed in this feed are sorted via algorithms based on users’ interests and pages they’ve liked, and as far as we can tell, the feed scrolls infinitely. This feed will be particularly useful for those who spends a lot of time on Facebook for video content.
(Video: Josh Constine via TechCrunch)
And here’s how I think Facebook is making sure you go through this new video discovery tab: your main news feed will show significantly less video content. On my Nexus 6P with the new Facebook for Android app, this is immediately apparent on both news feeds sorted by algorithm and by chronological order.
Back to the Video tab, you can choose to expand the number of regular and Live videos you see just by tapping on the “See All” button to the right of the screen.
You can also tweak what you see on the Video tab by letting the app know of what video content you’d like to see. At the upper right of the tab, you’ll see a tappable “Guide” button, which shows a list of categories ranging from Sports, World News, and even Funny. You can add these topics in your list of interests, and Facebook’s algorithms will work towards making videos related to these topics more visible on the Video feed.
Overall, the new Video tab will alter the way we use Facebook in a pretty big way. The social network has been pushing video content for several months now, and with over 8 billion video views on Facebook globally per day, the introduction of a dedicated video tab makes plenty of sense.
Facebook Live videos also gains plenty of prominence, as the company works towards its aims of turning Facebook into the social Internet platform for everything you could possibly need.
Just as previous app updates, the rollout for the new Facebook app update will be staggered, and will reach you in the very near future.