More Facebook products incoming as Instagram Stories crosses 500 million daily users

Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed today that Instagram Stories has crossed more than half a billion daily users. The figure was disclosed during the company's earnings call for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year 2018.

The growth marks a significant increase from June of last year when Instagram announced that Stories reached 400 million daily active users. It's important to note that the feature is a knockoff of Snapchat's popular service, although in mid-2017 Instagram's own version surpassed that of its rival in terms of growth.

Along with the new milestone for Instagram Stories, Zuckerberg also laid out Facebook's plans for its other products and services this year. One important area that the company vows to give more focus to is end-to-end encryption for its products, which will be turned on by default. Additionally, Zuckerberg said Facebook plans to make more of its products ephemeral as part of its broader privacy-oriented goals.

Support for payments through its messaging app WhatsApp will also be expanded to more countries in addition to India. The Facebook chief, however, didn't reveal specifics about the service's regional availability in the future.

Groups and stories will also receive new experiences with a focus on private sharing. Along with it, Facebook plans to increase the depth of experience for users as they interact with groups and communities across its ecosystem of products.

Other areas Facebook seeks to focus on include growing the adoption of Watch as a go-to video platform, adding new experiences to Instagram commerce and shopping, and improvements to augmented and virtual reality. As part of that effort, Oculus Quest is scheduled for shipment in the spring.

The social networking giant also announced that it now has 2.7 billion monthly users across its family of services including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. But as Facebook's ecosystem continues to grow, Zuckerberg acknowledges the company's prospect of committing mistakes in the future while also maintaining that it has already addressed vital issues, though that remains debatable. Moving forward, it'll beinteresting to see how the social media titan will respond to future crises, particularly on the security and privacy front.

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