With so much in the news about data leakage and error information, the latest announcement from Facebook is actually a breath of fresh air.
Today, Facebook officially announced the launch of Watch Party, a feature that lets people in Facebook Groups view live or pre-recorded video together (and chat) in real time.
The social media company has tested the public viewing function for a few months now. With today's announcement, Watch Party officially opens for all Facebook groups.
The function is actually quite cool in practice. Facebook users can simply click the "Watch Party" button in the post section of a Facebook group.
The user then selects a few Facebook videos, live or pre-enrolled, and Watch Party begins. Members of the Facebook group can watch and comment together at the same time on the videos. It's like setting up your own TV channel and watching the schedule with a group of friends.
The function has some limitations. For now, a Watch Party can only be launched inside a Facebook group. However, in its announcement, the company mentioned that it tests Watch parties outside of Facebook groups and plans to experiment with club parties on Facebook pages.
Another limitation of appeal parties is that users can only add Facebook-hosted videos to the queue. You can not add content from YouTube or other video streaming sites.
Across other video streaming sites, there have been attempts that third parties have made a long time to integrate Watch Party-like features into the platforms. While you're talking and streaming video at the same time, it's not completely new. Watch Party's extra c is what sets it apart. Watch Party allows a segmented group to view more synced videos together. It's like your own private theater just for your friends so you can see and talk about the same exact Facebook videos at the same precise time, no matter where your friends are.
People like to watch movies, TV and internet videos together. Perhaps Facebook will open floodgates for other services to roll out watch party-esque features by itself.
It's easy to forget about Facebook's best feature is the ability to connect with friends and family anytime, anywhere. Facebook Watch is a rare positive step to get the company back to basics.