Facebook’s F8 annual developer conference started on 25th of March where Facebook made some very prominent announcements regarding its current and future products. We have summed up all the main announcements from the conference for our readers.
Facebook has officially unveiled Messenger as a platform
Facebook was rumored to transform its Messenger app into a platform and now they confirmed it. What this means is that the app will allow several other apps including third-party ones to converge and work around the centralised Messenger app. At its core, the new service will allow the developers to add features to the messenger app. Think of it like a mini-appstore for the Messenger.
New real-time comments system
Facebook’s comment system is pretty solid but it has been a while since its been updated. Facebook has announced that the current system is seeing an overhaul and new comments will now show up in real time – so no need for constant refreshes to during a conversation in comments. The comments will also be kept in sync between the main story page and shared story on a Facebook page.
Facebook videos can now be embedded onto other websites
Facebook is making a move on Youtube’s territory. Now, Facebook videos can be embedded on other sites. This could mean a Youtube style home-video style content on Facebook. And almost certainly, Facebook will monetize these videos by sticking ads in them. This could possibly be the first step to Facebook’s own Youtube like platform.
360 degree videos are now possible on Facebook
Facebook will now support 3D spherical videos in the newsfeed. You can pan around the video with your mouse cursor. The new videos may look odd on flat screens but they could be a key feature on the Oculus Rift which Facebook purchased last year. Watching a 3d video on a 360 degree VR headset would certainly be amazing.
Facebook moves towards the IoT direction
According to Mark Zuckerberg, they are heading straight to the “Internet of Things” with their heads in first. What this means is that connected instruments will be connected using the Facebook platform. Facebook launched several SDKs that can work at the back-end of the IoT projects. The SDKs are compatible with Arduino with support for more platforms on the way.
Facebook will let users connect directly with businesses
After announcing the Messenger platform, Zuckerberg demonstrated an interesting new feature which lets users place an order with an online retailer and then change the order of the shipping details with Messenger.
Facebook has paid out $8 billion to developers
Over the past 5 years, Facebook has given our more than $8 billion to developers who are using its platform for development purposes. More than 30 million apps have been made using the Facebook platform, Zuckerberg told the crowd.
Facebook has revealed a new mobile app analytics tool
Facebook knows a lot about their users. Facebook announced the launch of a new app analytics tool designed to let app developers track their users’ behaviors in their apps. It will also help improve the way apps are promoted using ads. This tool is already available and is free of cost.
Last year, Facebook bought a start-up named Liverail that worked as an ad exchange that fills ad space within apps and sites to the highest bidder. Facebook has made two changes to it; they will now support mobile display ads in addition to videos, and it will be able to tap into a pool of anonymized Facebook data to determine which ad to show. Liverail is still far from competing with Google but its another step in that direction.
Oculus Rift might not be coming to the market this year
During the second day of the F8 conference, Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer talked about virtual reality, its future and Oculus Rift’s role in both. He made it clear that Oculus Rift was not coming in 2015 as suggested by some bloggers who misunderstood his words.
Facebook Messenger crosses the 600 million user mark
One of the biggest news of the conference was the Messenger platform but the company also revealed that its Messenger has over 600 million monthly active users now. That’s is the number of potential users for the apps built for the Messenger Platform.
Facebook introduces Parse Explorer
Facebook’s Parse explorer is a debugging tool for Facebook Cloud Parse which helps in developing mobile apps. The service will help developers dive into the details of the apps running on the Parse platform with the help of queries of logs via a new query language.
iOS will receive WhatsApp voice calling in a couple of weeks
WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton says that Voice calling for iOS WhatsApp users will be officially available in a couple of weeks. Acton, speaking on a panel with Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger and head of Facebook Messenger David Marcus, said that WhatsApp has been working on voice calling for a year and has been refining it before its launch on Android.
Facebook’s new deep learning technology can interpret text and videos
Facebook chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer showed off the newest capabilities of Facebook’s deep learning technology which is part of its artificial intelligence systems. The new technology is capable of image mining and recognizing actions like sports in videos very quickly. The latest iteration can even answer questions about text too.
These are the major announcements made during the two day conference. We will keep our readers informed if anything new comes up.