Facebook took just 18 months to increase the daily video views count from 1 billion to 8 billion. The success can be attributed to an SVE or streaming video engine – a relatively new tool to slice videos into little chunks that helps reduce the delay from upload to viewing by ten times.
A handy tool in its battle against YouTube
In addition, the SVE ensures fast loading of the next generation of 360-degree and virtual reality videos. The size of 360-degree videos on users’ phones and computers drops by 25% “by mapping a spherical video from a typical equirectangular shape into a cube with Facebook’s specs,” says TechCrunch. Facebook is making the 360-degree video code open-sourced by releasing it on GitHub.
Also it is possible to reduce the size of virtual reality videos for headsets by 80% by using a pyramid encoding technique that Facebook has developed. This means that viewers will not need to wait for the video to buffer, even when it allows them to look in any direction. The social network revealed the tech at its Video@scale conference.
Facebook is in a battle with YouTube to become the home of video, and therefore, it is critical for videos to load faster. People are ready to wait for a while on YouTube because they go there for the purpose of watching something, but this isn’t the case with Facebook. Users discover them as they scroll through the News Feed, and so, if they take too long to load, then users will scroll right by.
Facebook: the strategy it’s following
Facebook knows very well that videos are the future, and if it is slow to adapt, then it has high chances of missing out on an addictive content format that drives tons of engagement. Video ads are undoubtedly more lucrative, but the social network does not want to bombard users with too many. Instead, it is following a strategy to show them as related videos after a user ends up watching one he/she discovers organically. Therefore, reducing the load time is a prerequisite for the successful implementation of the strategy.
Meanwhile, the social network is also working to make sense of the loads of content (via videos) uploaded on the platform. For the purpose of identifying objects, scenes, actions and more in videos, the company is making breakthroughs on using artificial intelligence.