Facebook is adding a new "Watch Later" feature for users who want to watch videos they see on site but would prefer to do so at a later time.
The new feature aims to push the company's video ambitions and perhaps entice more users to stay on the social networking site, instead of heading over to YouTube, which has dominated the video viewing industry for years.
With more users staying on Facebook and more videos being viewed, Facebook hopes that the move will help boost the company's ad revenue.
Facebook will initially launch the "Watch Later" function to desktop users who will be able to bookmark videos that they plan to watch at a later time. To start bookmarking, users can simply hover the mouse over the video and wait for the button to appear on the top-right corner of the video screen. The saved videos can be retrieved from the "saved" tab found on the left-hand side of the Facebook News Feed.
The new "Watch Later" feature comes almost one year after Facebook launched the "Save" functionality, which allows users to tag links to media content to read later.
Earlier this month, Facebook rolled out the "Suggested Videos" feature, which is a new ad-supported functionality currently being tested on iPhones. Facebook has reportedly entered a revenue-sharing agreement with content providers and media companies for this.
Last month, Facebook also announced that it was tweaking the algorithm used in its News Feed to understand further what types of video content are appealing to users. There is also the added function of providing more or less video content on the users' News Feed, which would, of course, depend on the users' personal viewing preference.
With the new "Watch Later" feature, Facebook will be able to learn more about its users and their video preferences. Having this information on hand will help the social networking site establish data that can be used to predict which videos to promote in the user's feed.
Even with its 1.4 billion users, Facebook is still relatively new in the video streaming segment. However, the company seems determined to establish its presence with all the new functionalities it is eagerly rolling out.
Photo: Bhupinder Nayyar | Flickr