Facebook’s iOS app leaves a lot to be desired. The News Feed is cluttered with content from people I don’t even know, to start. (Just because my friends like something doesn’t mean I want to see it.) But this week the big blue app has two new features for iPhone users, Slideshows and Featured Events, that will make the social network we can’t stop checking a little more fun to use.
Why this matters: Facebook is taking the work out of creating photo-heavy posts and finding cool events to go to, which are two of the main reasons many people even use Facebook. Making these processes easier will make the Facebook experience more, dare I say, delightful.
Slideshows > photo albums
The first is a creative feature that will compile a slideshow, complete with music and title card, from your recent Camera Roll images and videos. The best part about slideshows is they are totally effortless. Like Facebook’s yearly review videos, which set your most-liked photos and milestones to music without any work on your part, the new feature pre-makes slideshows for you using images and videos you’ve taken in the last 24 hours. They’ll appear at the top of your News Feed in preview mode—these won’t be posted on your behalf—and you can take it from there with a slew of options. Edit the photos, add or remove images, tag friends, customize the slideshow title, and select from one of 10 themes, which include obvious picks like birthday and night out (and less obvious ones like Bollywood).
If you haven’t taken any photos or videos in a day, Facebook won’t offer up any pre-made slideshows for you. But you can make your own by tapping “Try it” beneath a friend’s slideshow. Choose five or more images or clips and add a theme.
Facebook has been testing slideshows in its Moments app and brought the feature to its main app last December, but now it’s rolling out globally on iOS.
Fill up your calendar with Featured Events
Facebook is the world’s photo album, but it’s also an incredibly useful way to find cool events happening in your area. The app already shows you events your friends are going to nearby, which is how I usually discover what’s going on in my city, but now the network is adding a more deliberate event-finding feature called, appropriately, Featured Events.
Facebook is tapping its own staff of human curators to find the best events in 10 U.S. cities and serve them up to iOS users. If you live in New York City, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Miami, or Seattle, you’ll start seeing this new feature at the top of the in-app Events tab this week.
TechCrunch, Facebook’s curators won’t be selecting events focused on politics or religion to avoid controversy, and also won’t be showcasing small or private events that would be overwhelmed by a large group of attendees.
People create 16 million Facebook events a month, and as anyone living in a big city knows, going through all of those listings to find the cool stuff is a time-consuming process. Hopefully Facebook’s curators will do a better job of picking events than they do of selecting trending topics.