Facebook hosted its global developer conference ‘F8” in San Jose this week, gathering more than 5,000 developers, creators and entrepreneurs from around the world to talk about the future of technology and Facebook’s plans.
Details and Implications:
The event opened with a keynote from Mark Zuckerberg focusing on the company’s privacy-focused vision for social networking and unveiling the redesign of Facebook saying: ‘We want to give people private spaces where they can express themselves freely and feel connected to the people and communities that matter most.’
A variety of updates to Facebook’s family of apps and services were announced during the conference. Here are the highlights.
Instagram: Three major enhancements were announced to provide new ways to connect people with each other and their interests on Instagram. A new and improved camera interface and a new “Create mode” which makes it easier to share content beyond traditional photos and videos – such as quizzes. A donations sticker in Stories to help you raise money for a nonprofit and the ability to shop from creators without leaving Instagram.
Messenger: Several new products and features were unveiled. Messenger is being rebuilt from the ground up to be faster and lighter than ever before. There is a new way to watch content together, when you are not physically in the same location, with Messenger letting you discover and watch videos from Facebook together in real time and there is also a new dedicated space where you can discover Facebook Stories and messages with your closest friends and family. For businesses, a new set of solutions are being introduced that aim to make it easier to generate leads, drive in-store traffic and provide customer care. These will include lead generation Ads Manager templates and a new appointment scheduling feature.
Facebook: A fresh new design for ‘the blue app’ will be rolled out. The aim is to make it easier to find and connect with relevant Facebook Groups and Events with improved suggestions, browsing and discovery tools. Facebook introduced a dating service last year and at F8 announced that Facebook Dating is expanding to 14 more countries (still limited to Asia and Latin America) and will have a new feature called “Secret Crush” that lets you express interest in up to nine friends.
WhatsApp: A new feature is upcoming giving businesses the ability to showcase their goods within WhatsApp through the WhatsApp Business Catalog. This new feature will allow businesses to showcase products to users interacting with them on the messaging platform, with the ability to upload images and descriptions of products. There were no details on any commerce integration as yet.
AR/VR: Oculus opened preorders for Quest and Rift S VR headsets, with shipping beginning on May 21 with 53 games available at launch. Facebook’s Spark AR Studio app creation platform now supports both Windows and Mac, in addition to other new features, with plans to open Instagram to the entire Spark AR creator and developer ecosystem later this year.
Privacy was the key theme of the conference (understandable after recent issues) and the updates show Facebook is planning for a more privacy focused future for its services for its consumers, whilst readying a more commerce focused future for its advertisers – increasingly important in a world of Amazon and Alibaba.