Facebook last week opened a new front in the so-called photo app wars with the launch of its ephemeral photo app Poke. But Facebook’s focus on apps like Poke, Camera and Instagram doesn’t mean that it is has stopped enhancing the photo experience on its main social networking platform. Facebook has now implemented a new “drag to upload” feature to allow users to add photos to their status updates more easily.
A few people noticed the feature last week, and today Facebook confirmed to us that it has rolled it out globally.
“We are continuing to improve the photo-sharing experience,” it noted to TechCrunch in an emailed statement. “The feature began rolling out globally last week and is now available to all.”
What this means is that users can now drag images from their PC/Mac desktops directly into the status update box, and even upload several pictures at once without needing to create an album. That speeds up and simplifies the process of uploading images, saving users a few moments of clicking around windows to upload a file. As Inside Facebook pointed out last week when it noticed the feature, it could take up to six steps to upload pictures before. Zzzzzzz.
It also means one less thing to think about in the chaos of engaging with family and friends in the same room as you over the holiday period while still wanting to reach out to those further away.
Photographs are one of the most central parts of the Facebook experience. They are one of the main reasons that people regularly use the site, both to upload their own pictures to share with others and to see their friends’ pictures. That means making photos easier to upload is an important part of increasing that engagement and time spent on Facebook. And engagement and time spent on the site, of course, are crucial metrics for the ad-funded service.
Although people are increasingly using their mobile devices as a key way of using the social networking platform, desktop usage remains an important part of Facebook’s traffic, and ad revenue.
In the company’s last quarterly earnings, for Q3, 14% of its ad revenues came from mobile. That’s an area that is likely to have increased but I suspect that a sizable portion is still coming from desktop usage. In July, the company noted that 102 million users accessed Facebook solely from mobile — again, a number that I suspect has grown a lot in the last six months, but unlikely at this point to be a majority of the 1 billion-plus users’ main avenue for accessing the social network.