How many companies does Facebook own? You’ve probably heard a lot about Facebook this year. And it’s not only because it’s the most popular social network in the world, so there are good chances you use it as well. Facebook data privacy scandal shook the world in spring 2018, and the attention to this application literally skyrocketed.
We believe that the issue is quite serious, but there are also other, more positive reasons to keep up with news about Facebook. First of all, it’s a tech giant, so everyone who is in this industry should be at least generally aware of what’s happening there. Secondly, Facebook’s revenue just for First Quarter 2021 (the last reported quarter as of the date of this article) constituted more than $26,171 billion (Y2Y +48%). And it’s one of the top-10 technology companies in the world. An excellent example of startup success everyone tech entrepreneur can learn from.
In this article, we’ll take a mini-tour across the Facebook empire and talk about the most popular apps it owns. We prepared a list of top applications that Facebook owns, its features, and its peculiarities. We will describe the following:
- Facebook app
- Oculus VR
- Masquerade (MSQRD)
- AUX by NPE
- Bump by NPE
- Tuned by NPE
It probably sounds quite obvious, but we just couldn’t ignore this application that was the very first in the collection. Facebook App was created in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and a few other fellows. As of September 2020, 16 years after the launch, the number of its monthly active users amounted to 2.74 billion. The Facebook app was the most downloaded app between 2010 and 2020 (businessinsider.com).
But it’s worth mentioning that the initial version of the Facebook app differed significantly from the one we are used to seeing today. Its name contained ‘the’ at the beginning, so it was ‘thefacebook.’ There were no newsfeed and ‘Like’ button either. So it was really a long road for the Facebook app to get where it’s now. Daily about 1.82 billion users visit Facebook.
Another interesting fact is that at the dawn of Facebook’s existence, Zuckerberg and other guys hacked Harvard’s computer system to copy some private information of the students who lived in the dormitory. So we can say that Facebook’s relationships with personal data protection were complicated from the very beginning.
This year Facebook rolled our new update for private education – “Educational Hub.” These resources help teachers and students to keep in touch and study remotely in connection with quarantine.
The resources include the following:
- Anti-racism resources;
- Self-care strategies and mental health resources (which are likely particularly important during social distancing during the pandemic);
- “Get Digital,” a digital literacy program that includes lesson plans, online conversation starters, and online activities for students;
- Group-focused options, including the opportunity to start or find a group of like-minded teachers, students, or parents.
Moreover, Facebook decided to go back to the original aim of the social network and launches Campus-platforms for students to chat with others, find out about upcoming events, and other online services.
Facebook DAUs were 1.82 billion on average for September 2020, an increase of 12% year-over-year.
Messenger is another favorite app created by Facebook. Today, this application goes hand in hand with the Facebook app itself for most smartphone users. But, actually, Messenger became available for iOS, Android, and Windows devices only in 2011. Before that, there was only the Facebook Chat that was released in 2008. But it was not a standalone application and offered a much worse user experience.
According to Statista, as of October 2020, Facebook Messenger was the second most popular messaging app in the world, has 1.3 billion monthly active users.
The most recent significant revamp of this application took place in October 2018. The updates were mainly focused on simplifying users’ life by decluttering the chat interface and reducing the number of tabs. Another change was related to personalization. Now, users can choose the display color in their conversation.
The dark mode, however, is something we expected to receive in 2019. On top of that, Facebook Messenger is going to become more ad-friendly. It’s likely that companies will receive the opportunity to create story ads if Facebook’s testing of this feature shows promising results.
The recent update was on the 10th of September 2020. It gave the improvements and bug fixes for the latest version on Messenger.
WhatsApp is another messaging application Facebook owns. But unlike Messenger, WhatsApp was not made by the Facebook team — the company acquired it in 2014 for $19 billion. At that moment, the application was already quite ‘mature,’ having existed on the market for about five years.
And as we see, that was indeed a successful purchase as WhatsApp is the most popular messaging application worldwide nowadays. It has more than 2.0 billion monthly active users and ranked No.1 app by worldwide downloads.
What WhatsApp updates can we expect in 2020? Well, there is good news for companies and bad news for users. Facebook plans to put ads on WhatsApp, so you’ll see some commercial content in the application soon. According to the statistics, the number of active users will grow from 68.1 to 85.8 million.
A sad story related to these changes is that WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton left Facebook in September 2017. And rumor has it that the main reason for such a decision was their disagreement with the company’s intent to embed targeted ads in the application that was initially supposed to be advert-free. However, our team knows how to develop a WhatsApp clone app.
Does Facebook own Instagram? Instagram is also one of the most popular applications held by Facebook. It was created in 2010, but its independent existence didn’t last for long. Facebook saw the potential in a newborn app and purchased it in April 2012 (the same month when the Android version of Instagram was released) for as little as $1 billion. Many believe that it’s the best deal in the history of Silicon Valley so far.
And it’s no wonder. As of October 2018, Instagram was one of the most used social networks globally. It has more than 1 billion monthly active users who share about 80 million photos and videos per day.
There is no official information on what new Instagram features we can expect in 2019. But some experts believe that there will be a greater focus on IGTV, which is a platform for sharing long-form vertical videos. On top of that, there are good chances that Instagram Stories will become more interactive as users will receive an opportunity to leave public comments and create multiple-choice questions.
On the 5th of August, Instagram launched a new feature – reels video. It is a 15-sec video where users can put music, text, and other effects. This feature is available only in 50 countries where music is allowed by law. Among them are the USA, Germany, France, Great Britain, and others. The creators of TikTok emphasize similarity to their social media and criticize this update of Instagram.
300 hundred million users use Facebook Stories daily compared to 500 million who use Instagram Stories every day.
Oculus VR is one of the tech companies Facebook owns. It was founded in July 2012, and in March 2014, Facebook purchased it for $2.3 billion. As the name suggests, Oculus VR’s activity is mainly focused on the development of virtual reality software and hardware products.
As of today, the most famous of them is Oculus Rift — a VR headset released in March 2016. It gained popularity right after it appeared on the market. In 2017, for instance, the company sold nearly 700,000 items of this device.
Yet, there is also a dark side to the story. In 2014, ZeniMax, a well-known gaming company, filed a lawsuit against Facebook, claiming that Oculus Rift was built based on the stolen code and research. In December 2018, the court finally passed its verdict and awarded ZeniMax $250M in damages.
But it’s not a time to get upset for Facebook. A release of Oculus Quest, a revolutionary standalone VR headset, is planned for the spring of 2019. And it really has the potential to disrupt the tech world. This is because the announced price is more than affordable ($399), so many game players will probably want to have the device.
This app is the least known among those mentioned in this list of apps and companies owned by Facebook. Yet, we want to say it as the application was initially built by some Belarusian guys no one knows about. This, basically, proves that even if you’re not a Silicon Valley habitat, you can create a great product Facebook will want to purchase.
What does the MSQRD app do? Well, in general, it allows its users to “play” with their selfies by placing different effects on videos in real-time. On top of that, designers can create their own filters to make videos even more fun. The price of the deal was not disclosed. But we believe there should be a lot of zeros in this number.
Memes have invaded the Internet, so it is quite understandable why this November, Facebook released a meme-making app called Whale.
In Whale, you can select pictures from a camera or gallery on the device or even take a photo within the app to turn it into a fun meme. This app lets you add various emojis, texts, effects, and a couple of hype filters like laser eyes or vortex directly to your picture. It is even possible to make your stickers using cut & crop and drawing tools. After being completed, your funny creation can be shared with Instagram or Messenger.
Did you know that Facebook, after the success of Clubhouse, began to actively develop a Clubhouse clone, audio with short-form Soundbites feature, and podcast support? Recently the company presented all these solutions and they are already available for some users. Read more in our article Facebook Announces New Audio Products.
Facebook amazed us all again in 2020 by purchasing Giphy (a huge GIF-making and sharing website) for $400 million and promising to integrate its enormous library with overly popular Instagram. Apart from Instagram, the service will be supported by Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Wow, isn’t it impressive that the users will have a set of tools for making their own GIFs and then sharing them with each other?
But will new Giphy ownership influence its regular users? Facebook says that it will absolutely not. Only the users of Instagram will enjoy the new way of sharing animated pictures and stickers. It is worth mentioning that many other giant websites like Twitter, Slack, Pinterest, and even Reddit are using GIFs created in Giphy and rely on its API. So let’s wait and see what Facebook developers have in mind and what new excellent option our favorite apps will get soon.
This July, Facebook gathered NPE (New Product Experimentation) team and launched Aux – a beta version of a new music app for teens and schoolers. Aux is available for Canadian users and can be downloaded only on iOS devices. It ranked 38 among other music apps in the Canadian App Store, and this fall, the number of its downloads was only 500+. Many people have noticed that the AUX concept resembles Turntable.fm (a social media website for sharing music that was shut down in 2013).
It is true that both solutions offer unique DJ’ing experiences; however, the core aim of Aux is a bit different. The app allows creating a so-called virtual party that all schoolers and teens can join at 9 P.M. They all can play their music and compete for “claps” to get up-voted. The musician who received more “claps” wins. We do not know what future awaits this app, but we think that it is excellent that the NPE squad creates solutions encouraging creative people to share their talents with each other.
Bump by NPE
Facebook NPE team has recently released a freshly created app called Bump for both iOS and Android devices. This is basically an anonymous chatting app aimed to help people make friends.
If you are wondering what makes it stand out from other alike messaging tools, the answer is – the opportunity to establish engaging communication without being distracted by pictures, videos, or links. Yes, Bump does not have any of those. You can only communicate with the help of text messages. The chatting in real-time, and answers should be sent within 30 seconds.
One more exciting feature of this app is that you can participate in one chat at a time. After the messaging is finished, two people can keep in touch further if they both agree. Kudos to NPE guys, for Bump, help people to value communication above appearance!
Tuned by NPE
Facebook launches a new messaging app called ‘Tuned,’ just for couples. A private space where you and your significant other can just be yourselves. With Tuned, you can be as mushy, quirky, and silly as you are together in person, even when you’re apart. Creatively express your love, share your mood, exchange music, and build a digital scrapbook of your special moments.
Collab by NPE
Collab, Facebook’s experimental app for making collaborative music videos, is today launching out of private beta testing with a public release on the App Store. The app is one of now many projects from Facebook’s internal R&D group, NPE Team, which tests new ideas that could ultimately influence Facebook’s next steps in social media. In the app, a collab could consist of a guitarist, drummer, and a singer, each playing alongside the other in their respective videos.
Facebook owns the most popular and actively used companies for the last decades. There is a vast number of users that visit websites and applications every day. And the number is still increasing and widening its boundaries.
In this article, we mentioned only the most famous apps and companies Facebook owns. Of course, there are many more of them as the general list of Facebook’s products and acquisitions also contains multiple smaller purchases. And the Facebook empire keeps growing. So if you come up with some brilliant idea Facebook finds attractive, you may really make a fortune on it. In this regard, there are, basically, two options: you can either develop an entirely new product or think about additional features to enhance the existing app.
Already have an app idea even Zuckerberg would envy? We can help with development!