Facebook is having a very good month. The social media giant surpassed General Electric in market value last week, just after it reported a 40.5 percent jump in quarterly revenue, growing to $4.5 billion from $3.2 billion year over year.
The spike in quarterly revenue was launched by new ad formats and long-term investments. The company has been busy in the last year developing several new products for its users. Here are some of the projects that CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have been working on:
Breaking up is hard to do and Facebook knows it. Instead of simply unfriending or blocking your ex on social media, the company is testing a new feature that will remove your former lover from your news feed.
When a user changes their relationship status to indicate that they are no longer in one, they will have the option to limit content posted by their former partner.
"Their posts won't show up in news feed and their name won't be suggested when people write a new message or tag friends in photos," Facebook said in a statement.
The feature is part of an ongoing effort by the social media giant to "develop resources for people who may be going through difficult moments in their lives."
The company will continue to test this new tool and roll out updates based on user feedback.
Facebook's "Safety Check" feature first appeared in 2011 after a tsunami and nuclear disaster in Tokyo. The tool was established to allow users to connect with loved ones during a natural disaster.
However, after the attacks in Paris last week, the service will be extended to human disasters as well.
"Many people have rightfully asked why we turned on Safety Check for Paris but not for bombings in Beirut and other places," Zuckerberg wrote in a post on Facebook last week. "Until yesterday, our policy was only to activate Safety Check for natural disasters. We just changed this and now plan to activate Safety Check for more human disasters going forward as well."
Safety Check is not a permanent fixture on Facebook. Instead, the company determines when the feature is turned on and where.
"Safety Check remains a work in progress, but one that has helped many people stay in touch with their friends and family during difficult times," Alex Schultz, vice president of growth at Facebook, wrote in a post on the social media platform last week. We're going to continue working to make it better and more useful."
Facebook revealed Wednesday that it would be testing a new fundraising feature and updating its donation button so that users can give to charities without leaving the platform.
The fundraiser feature will be a designated place where "nonprofits can tell their campaign story, rally supporters, collect donations and visibly track progress toward a goal for year-end drives, themed campaigns and special projects such as building a clean water well or funding a clothing drive," according to Facebook.
The company will also be improving its donate button, making it available on pages and posts so that nonprofits can collect donations on their page and through posts on users' news feeds.
Facebook is testing these two features with 37 partner organizations including World Wildlife Fund, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Mercy Corps.
Facebook is testing an artificial intelligence (AI) feature that will be able to answer specific questions about photos, helping blind people "see" images uploaded to the social network.
At the Web Summit conference in Dublin, Ireland, execs described the technology as a way to teach computers to understand the visual aspects of human perception.
"Imagine that you are one of the hundreds of millions of people with some sort of vision disability, and you have trouble participating in the visual part of social networks," said Mike Schroepfer, the company's chief technology officer, at the conference. "And one of your friends, who just had a baby, posts a photo and captions it. There's technology already out there to read all the text on the screen to you…but you wanted to learn more about what this photo is. We built a system that allows you to ask questions about a photo that it's never seen before."
In 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus VR, a leader in virtual reality technology, for $2 billion. By 2025, the company aims to "effectively build a teleporter," Schroepfer said at Web Summit.
He noted that Facebook developers want to develop a device that can trick your senses into thinking users are in a real world and not a virtual one.
While Zuckerberg cautioned during a third-quarter earnings call on Wednesday that "these kind of new platforms take a long time to develop," the company wants to make virtual reality technology more ubiquitous than the smartphone.
Facebook users will eventually pocket a revenue share of video views, Zuckerberg said this week.
"There's a certain class of content, which is only going to come onto Facebook if there's a good way to compensate the content owners for that," Zuckerberg said during the Wednesday call. "And we've recently rolled out the business model for this, which is, for premium content we'll give a revenue share on a portion of the views to the content owners, and we've got good feedback so far on that."
The CEO announced via Facebook that the company is working on a project to deliver Internet to the people of Earth ... from space.
Zuckerberg has partnered with Eutelsat, a French-based satellite provider, to literally launch this project into the stratosphere.
The satellite, dubbed Amos-6, is expected to provide Internet coverage to parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and is slated for launch in 2016.
"Over the last year, Facebook has been exploring ways to use aircraft and satellites to beam Internet access down into communities from the sky," Zuckerberg wrote. "To connect people living in remote regions, traditional connectivity infrastructure is often difficult and inefficient, so we need to invent new technologies."
The social networking giant is introducing a stand-alone app called Notify as it partners with dozens media outlets including Vogue, the Washington Post and CNN.
The app alerts users to new stories featuring content from media groups and is slated to launch in the coming weeks, according to The Financial Times.
Facebook's move into mobile news comes just weeks after Twitter revealed "Moments," a feature that presents news stories to users on a variety of topics.
"When something happens in the world, people often turn to Facebook to see how their friends and family are reacting," said Tom Stocky, the social networking giant's vice president of search, in a Thursday blog post. "Today, we're updating Facebook Search so that in addition to friends and family, you can find out what the world is saying about topics that matter to you."
Facebook's search function will be able to surface old content, allowing posts users created years ago to be found. People who don't want any future posts to appear on search can make them private.