Facebook Buys And Shuts Down Shopping Site TheFind To Boost Commerce In Ads

Facebook today announced it has acquired personalized shopping search engine TheFind to help improve its commerce ads. TheFind had raised $26 million from Lightspeed and Redpoint since getting off the ground around 2005, but will now be shut down. Some, but not all, members of the team are joining Facebook.

TheFind’s product allowed people to get customized recommendations for products while searching through its massive database of products. A user could enter somewhat generic terms like “black sweater” and then compare prices on black sweaters from a wide array of retailers aggregated by TheFind. They could also discover places to buy their chosen product locally if they want it immediately.

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Mark Zuckerberg: I Would Only Hire Someone to Work For Me If I Would Work For Them

When it comes to onboarding new employees with whom he’ll work directly, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg bears in mind a single guiding principle that he says has never steered him wrong.

“I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person,” Zuckerberg told an audience gathered in Barcelona yesterday for the fourth installment of ‘Q&A with Mark,’ an ongoing series of town hall-style discussions.

While employers generally have more work to do than staffers to get it done, Zuckerberg says business owners should resist the urge to settle for lesser candidates in the name of manpower. “Over the long term,” he said, “you’re only going to be better if you get someone really good.”

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Zynga Drops 9% After Its $192M Q4 Revenue And Guidance Disappoint

Zynga reported its fourth quarter financial performance today after the bell, including revenue of $192.5 million and earnings per share of $0.00. Investors had expected the company to earn $0.00 on revenue of $201.11 million. The firm also reported bookings in the quarter of $182.4 million.

The company’s flat earnings per share is based on adjusted profit. Using normally accepted accounting methods, Zynga lost $45.13 million, or $0.05 per share. In the year-ago period, Zynga had revenue of $176.36 million, on which it lost $25.24 million, or $0.03 cents per share. So, Zynga grew its revenue by just over 9 percent in the last year.

Zynga announced in its earnings that it will close its games studio in China, impacting 71 employees. The company anticipates savings of $7 million per year.

The company was off around 5 percent today in regular trading, and, following its missed earnings has tanked nearly 10 percent after hours.

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Facebook Is Testing A Simple App For Low-End Android Phones

Not content with spinning out apps for stickers inside Messenger, Groups and new addition Rooms, Facebook has launched another standalone app. Facebook Lite, which some may recall as a simplified version of its mobile website from 2009-2010, is specifically designed for low-end Android devices in emerging markets.

TechCrunch understands that the app was quietly launched in a handful of countries in Asia and Africa over the weekend — Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zimbabwe to be precise — where it is being testing with a view to further expansions. That said, a wider launch is not a certainty and Facebook could quietly can the project if it doesn’t believe it is worth pursuing.

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Facebook buys Wit.ai, a speech recognition startup

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Mark Zuckerberg at a Bloomberg TV interview at the company’s headquarters on Dec. 2, 2014. 
Facebook may soon be able to understand you a bit better — or at least your voice.

Facebook has agreed to acquire Wit.ai, a speech recognition and natural language processing service. The deal could help the social networking company develop voice features for Messenger and help the Facebook developer community.

A rep for Facebook confirmed the deal in a statement to Mashable. “Wit.ai has built an incredible yet simple natural language processing API that has helped developers turn speech and text into actionable data. We’re excited to have them onboard,” the Facebook spokesperson said.

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Facebook in 2015: Drones, messaging and virtual reality, oh my!

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As Facebook has matured into a social media platform unrivaled in size and reach in recent years, the persistent question hanging over the company in 2014 has been: what’s next?

To properly answer that question it’s best to look into the company’s recent past to glean a hint at what might be in store for Facebook in 2015.

Messaging

Earlier this year, Facebook recovered from its stinging rebuke from Snapchat by snapping up the messaging app WhatsApp for $16 billion in February. The app, which currently claims to have 600 million active monthly users, added a significant amount of heft to the company’s already massive billion-user base. Nevertheless, the acquisition hasn’t appeared to put a dent in Snapchat’s popularity.

slingshot messages

Slingshot allows you to draw on photos. You can control the size of the brush by moving your finger farther away from the color bar.

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Facebook Dumps Bing, Will Introduce Its Own Search Tool

It seems that Facebook quietly removed Bing as its primary search provider over the weekend, announcing plans to debut its own search tool on Monday, according to Reuters.

The report says that Facebook’s new search tool will give users the ability to filter through old comments and other information from friends.

Facebook has been building out its search products for a long time, using Bing as an extra layer to provide results beyond the Interest Graph in an effort to avoid letting rival Google into the system.

A Facebook spokesperson told Reuters: “We’re not currently showing web search results in Facebook Search because we’re focused on helping people find what’s been shared with them on Facebook. We continue to have a great partnership with Microsoft of lots of different areas.”

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