Key announcements from the Facebook F8 Conference

Key announcements from the Facebook F8 Conference
The Facebook F8 Conference is "where developers and businesses explore what's next in technology.” This year’s F8 was arguably Facebook’s most crucial given the recent negative press and public opinion of the social network. Taking place 1-2nd May, the annual event highlights “the new products and innovations Facebook is creating to bring the world closer together.” From Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to artificial intelligence (AI) and dating on Facebook, the 2018 F8 featured some very exciting announcements.

Dating

Facebook recently launched its biggest ever marketing campaign, a series of ads that centre around the tagline “Here together”. Zuckerberg’s aim, “to get back to what made Facebook great in the first place”, is certainly a theme that applies to Facebook’s upcoming dating and relationships feature. In a move set to rival the likes of Tinder and Bumble, Facebook will soon allow people to create a dating profile that is separate from their Facebook profile. The social network will then find users potential matches based on their interests, mutual friends and dating preferences. Little further details have been shared on Facebook’s new dating feature, which will start testing later this year. Tinder currently has around 50 million users, but the seamlessness of being able to essentially be on a Tinder equivalent while also active on Facebook could be enough to make Mark Zuckerberg’s creation the new go-to for singletons.

AR (Augmented Reality)

The popularity of AR continues to grow rapidly and it’s clear that Facebook are doubling down on it across the platforms that it has. This includes:
  • Instagram - The AR camera platform was announced last year, and it will now be used across Instagram as well. From face filters to world effects, the AR Studio allows users to create unique and interactive experiences.
  • Messenger - These camera effects will also be seen across Messenger. This will be huge news to brands who will be able to get valuable, instant feedback on purchases and much more. There is also the option for developers to build things like walkthroughs of new products and allowing people to virtually try things on.
  • Facebook Lite - The three-year-old app for Android is also getting the AR push and they’re hoping to use third-party developed experiences across the app.
On Messenger, there is currently a closed Beta test with brands like Sephora, KIA, Nike and ASUS while Instagram has a test with Kylie Jenner, NBA, Ariana Grande, Vogue and others. It was at Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote speech last year where Facebook’s AR ambitions were shown but the founder said that, in glasses form at least, a mass consumer product was some way off. These additions show that the social media platform is investing in the promotion and their VR announcements were similarly exciting.

VR (Virtual Reality)

Along with the revelations regarding AR, Facebook have announced their continued ventures into Virtual Reality (VR). These have come in two major revelations. VR Memories - This interesting feature aims to use your old pictures and videos to create a VR display of the place where the image was taken. Through leverage computer vision, it uses your 2D pictures to create spatial point clouds to create the VR environment. Facebook executive Rachel Franklin claimed, “it’s like a Facebook album that has come to life”. While this is certainly an extremely creative idea, it will be interesting to see just how much information will be required to create these VR memories. How many images and videos will we need to recreate the places we have been? Regardless, this is an interesting item to look out for as it develops from a demo to a completed feature. Occulus Go - Facebook announced the release of Occulus Go at this year’s F8 in the hopes that people will view VR as a social experience, rather than an isolating one. With the Occulus Go, you can play games, video chat with friends and family and even watch TV. Plenty of apps have been created for Samsung’s Occulus gear so Occulus Go users will already have over a thousand apps to go through from the start. With this, they will also have Facebook Watch where users can watch TV through the gear. However, services like Netflix will probably become available sometime in the future. The Occulus Go also gives Facebook much more control over the whole VR experience rather than relying on other VR headset shells where you have to slot your phone in. Facebook’s convenient – and cheaper – headset will surely make the experience better for users.

What's next for these Facebook F8 announcements?

These are certainly some interesting developments from Facebook after their recent negative press. It will be great to see how quickly they become features that we use on a daily basis. What creations would you like to see Facebook develop next?
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