You certainly cannot accuse Facebook of getting 2015 off to a slow start. The social network just announced its second acquisition of the week, and it looks like it could be a big one. Although details of the transaction, including its cost, were not revealed, Facebook’s latest move could help set it up to take on YouTube.
The deal in question is Facebook’s acquisition of QuickFire Networks, a video compression technology start-up. Although not typically associated with video content, videos are one of the fastest growing types of content being shared on its site, according to the company. On Monday, Facebook acquired Wit.ai, a company that makes voice recognition technology for wearable devices and Internet-connected appliances.
An Increasing Priority
“We’re increasingly seeing a shift towards visual content on Facebook, especially with video,” Facebook wrote in a company blog post on Wednesday, just before it announced the acquisition of QuickFire. “In just one year, the number of video posts per person has increased 75 percent globally and 94 percent in the U.S.” Globally, the numbers of videos from people and brands in News Feed has increased 3.6 times, year-over-year, the company said.
Since June, Facebook has averaged more than 1 billion video views every day. On average, more than 50 percent of people who come back to Facebook every day in the U.S. watch at least one video daily. Additionally, 76 percent of people in the U.S. who use Facebook tend to discover the videos they watch on Facebook, the company wrote.
With that much traffic, it is little wonder that the social network is doing more to prioritize visual content. CEO Mark Zuckerberg underscored that point during the company’s third-quarter conference call in October. “Video is a very big priority,” he said, adding that a lot of the content people share will be video.
Solving the Bandwidth Problem
Facebook did not say exactly how the QuickFire acquisition would aid its efforts to focus more heavily on video content. "Video is an essential part of the Facebook experience,” Facebook spokesperson Vanessa Chan told us. “We are excited to bring QuickFire Networks on board as we continue delivering a high-quality video experience to the over 1.3 billion people who use Facebook."
A message from QuickFire’s CEO, however, indicates that the social network might be interested in the startup’s compression technology to help it host high-quality video without overburdening users’ bandwidth.
“QuickFire Networks was founded on the premise that the current network infrastructure is not sufficient to support the massive consumption of video that’s happening online without compromising on video quality,” QuickFire CEO Craig Lee wrote in a message on the company Web site announcing the acquisition.
QuickFire solves the capacity problem via proprietary technology that dramatically reduces the bandwidth needed to view video online without degrading video quality. “Ultimately our goal has always been to provide a premium quality, immediate, bandwidth-friendly video experience to consumers,” Lee added.
Facebook is also likely looking to get its hands on some new talent in video technology. Although Lee declined to say how many QuickFire employees would be joining Facebook, he did say that several key members of the team would be staying onboard as QuickFire winds down its operations.