Facebook Introduces “Chat Heads” for iPhone and iPad

May 19, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. pop up [POP uhp] (phrasal v.) – to appear suddenly, usually in an unexpected way
Example Lucy was surfing the internet when several advertisements popped up.

2. prior to [PRAHY-er too] (prep.) – before a specific time or event
Example: Mark was a computer programmer prior to becoming a successful businessman.

3. navigation bar [nav-i-GEY-shuh n bahr] (n. phrase) – a menu structure of a website, software or application
Example: The navigation bar allows visitors to easily explore the website.

4. filter [FIL-ter] (v.) – to remove or separate unwanted materials
Example: Google filters information so that users only get what they are looking for.

5. revamp [ree-VAMP] (v.) – to revise or change something to improve its form, structure or appearance
Example The company revamped the design of its smartphone to attract more buyers.


Read the text below.

Facebook has recently introduced a new messaging feature called Facebook Chat Heads for its iPhone and iPad apps. The feature was originally available only for Android phones and tablets.

Chat Heads will reportedly make chatting with friends easier. When a friend sends a Facebook message, a circular icon with his or her profile picture pops up on the screen. Prior to the Chat Heads feature, only a notification at the top of the screen appears upon receiving a Facebook message.

In both Android and iOS platforms, the Chat Heads can be moved around the screen. The user can close the conversation by dragging the Chat Head to the bottom of the screen. In Android gadgets, the Chat Heads pop up even while using other apps. With the iOS version, however, Chat Heads appears only while on the Facebook app.

Facebook has also made other changes to its iOS app. These changes include new elements on the navigation bar and a sticker capability. Users can also change their Newsfeed settings to filter updates from friends.

In early April, Facebook has also released a new software called Facebook Home for selected Android phones such as HTC One and Galaxy S3. The software includes a Cover Feed feature that displays photos and updates from the Newsfeed to the front of a user's phone.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg now declares Facebook to be a mobile company as it has been revamping its iOS and Android apps for the past year. Users may also expect improvements on Facebook’s Newsfeed later this year.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think are the other advantages of having Chat Heads and improved Newsfeed on Facebook apps? Please explain your answer.
·         Are you interested in using Facebook Chat Heads? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         How has social networking sites changed the way people communicate with each other?
·         What are the advantages and disadvantages of using social networking sites? Please explain your answer.


May 19, 2013