Facebook is pushing new updates to its Stories feature, which will be rolled out to the Indian market first. Facebook’s Connor Hayes, Director of Product Management, showcased the new features to members of the media in India via a video conference. Hayes said that Facebook was rolling out these Stories specific features in the Indian market first, though they would be made available in other countries later on. The new features will let users Save Stories, give them the option of sharing ‘Audio’ Stories, and the option to create an archive of their past Stories. Hayes revealed that where Audio Stories is concerned, Facebook has got its learnings from WhatsApp, which has an Audio Messages feature that is quite popular in India.
The big new change for Stories will be the option to save photos and videos for later. When using the Facebook camera, users will be able to save the photos and videos they capture, where only they can see them when they log into their Facebook account. This will be saved on their Facebook account and not their phone storage. Hayes explained that one reason for this was that in India many users experience low storage on their phone, so it was better to allow the saved videos and photos to be there on Facebook itself. It should be noted that Snapchat also has similar feature, where Stories can be backed up to the app, without using phone storage.
Users will see a new ‘Save’ button at the bottom of their Story after their have recorded the video or taken the picture, via the Facebook camera. Users can share these saved Stories later on as well.
Voice Posts will let users share an Audio message in their Story. Facebook revealed that people were using creative workarounds to share through audio already like covering their phone camera with their finger when taking a video and just recording the audio to share. Now, Voice posts will be a new option in the Facebook Camera. Users will be able to add a background picture and text to such posts as well.
Finally, there’s also a new Stories Archive option where Facebook will create an archive of all past Stories. Facebook says this will be private to the user, through traditionally Stories disappear after 24 hours. With the archive, users will be able to relive their memories and re-share them as well if they wish to do so. Facebook will give users the option of also turning off the archive so that the Stories are not saved.
For now, saved photos and videos will come to Facebook for Android. The Facebook Lite and iOS app are not getting this feature at the moment, though it might be a possibility in the future. Facebook also says that the Voice posts feature has been built keeping in mind data restrictions, especially in a market like India, and is also optimised for low data/network conditions. A Voice post story can get recorded up to 20 seconds. However, this feature is only rolling out for Facebook Lite users first, and Android app users will get it later. There’s no word on whether it will be rolled out iOS or not. Users will have the option of deleting Stories from their Archive as well.