The 2018 Facebook F8 developers conference is officially underway. Although the conference is meant primarily for developers, the keynote often gives us a good idea of what to expect from Facebook, Instagram, and other subsidiaries.
Here’s everything we learned from the Facebook F8 Keynote address.
Not unexpectedly, privacy played a key role in this year’s keynote. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg opened the conference addressing the issue head-on. Shortly before the start of keynote, Zuckerberg announced a new feature called Clear History.
Clear History will let you see which external websites send information about you to Facebook — and clear any information learned about you from Facebook’s analytics tools. You’ll also have an option to turn the data-collection feature off on Facebook, as well as third-party sites that use Facebook’s data-collection tools.
Watch Party is a new feature in Facebook that allows you to watch live video and chat with your friends. The feature was created to encourage meaningful participatio and discussion on the platform.
Upvotes and downvotes
While Facebook users have been requesting a thumbs down feature for years, Facebook has yet to add it. However, the social media is adding an upvote/downvote to some comments. The feature will be available on certain posts and is meant to promote helpful or insightful comments.
Facebook believes its groups are one of the best ways to create meaningful interactions between users. With more than 1.4 billion users each month, Facebook Groups are growing quickly.
Later this month, Facebook will launch a new Groups tab on its app. From there, you’ll be able to find and connect with groups easily.
Groups will also have access to the Watch Party feature that allows you to watch video along with other group members. In addition to the regular Watch Party features found on Facebook, groups will also have a Live Commentating option, where moderators will be able to narrate what is being watched to the group.
Facebook is adding a new set of features targeted at its 200 million single users. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the features are meant to encourage meaningful relationships as opposed to hookups.
To that end, Facebook is integrating a special groups section into the dating feature. People who use the dating feature will be able to browse different events in their cities and RSVP to events of interest. Once you’ve RSVP’d, you’ll be able to see all of the other attendees for the event and message users. The messaging feature, is separate from Messenger and WhatsApp and is text only.
Facebook knows that some people will be reluctant about having their dating and social media profiles on the same platform, so it is adding privacy features to ensure your friends will not be able to access your dating profile. You also won’t be connected with friends.
A few years ago, Facebook added Safety Check, a feature that allows you to let let your loved ones know you’re safe after a catastrophic event. This year, Facebook is adding a new feature called Crisis Response., where users will be able to provide firsthand accounts of emergency events.
Instagram’s camera will soon be good for much more than sharing snapshots and Stories, as the photo-sharing platform dips into video chat and more augmented reality filters. Instagram announced a list of new changes coming to the platform, including a redesigned Explore section, new options for sharing to Stories and a new “bully filter” for comments. Features like the new augmented reality (AR) filters are already rolling out while options like the video chat and new Explore are currently in testing.
First and foremost, Instagram has updated its app to include an improved Explore section. The new explore section is sorted by topics, allowing you to find interesting content more quickly.
In addition to overhauling the Explore table, Instagram is also changing the way it displays content. Besides A.I. sorting, Instagram is now using community curation to make the Explore tab more personalized.
Like Facebook, Instagram will soon have a Video chat feature. The video chat feature will be available in Instagram Direct and will allow users to initiate one-on-one and group chats.
After introducing an obscenity filter in 2017, Instagram is adding a bully filter to the mix this year. The bully filter uses machine learning to find and remove inappropriate and/or threatening comments.
AR Camera Effects Platform
Instagram announced a closed beta of the AR Camera Effects Platform. With AR Camera Effects, users can create custom filters and AR features specifically for Instagram.
AR Camera Effects is a little different than it is on Facebook. On Instagram, filters will only be unlocked if you follow the user who created it. However, you can discover and try out new filters that your friends have used on their feeds.
Group Video Calling and Stickers
After years of user requests, WhatsApp is adding two exciting new features: Group video calls and stickers. With group video calls you’ll be able to connect with friends and family from around the world.
Stickers are also coming to WhatsApp in the coming months. Stickers allow you to add a little whimsy to your conversations with friends and loved ones. In addition to WhatsApp’s suite of stickers, developers will also be able to create third-party sticker packs for the platform.
Last year, WhatsApp introduced a new feature called WhatsApp Business that allows small businesses to communicate with users on the platform. This year, WhatsApp will begin testing the feature with large businesses.
One of the most exciting new features on Messenger is actually on Facebook’s Marketplace. In the coming months, Messenger will launch M Translations for Marketplace. With M Translations, users will be able to translate conversations in real time.
M Translations will be rolled out throughout the year to users in the United States. At launch, it will only translate English and Spanish conversations.
Customer Chat plugin
Messenger is also releasing a Customer Chat plug-in for third-party websites. The new plug-in will allow you to use Messenger to communicate with a business directly from its homepage. While the feature will make it easy to connect with businesses, it will also give them an opportunity to target customers again once they end the conversation. To learn more about all of the new features for businesses, check out this Facebook blog post.
In late 2017, Messenger admitted its platform had become messy and pledged to clean it up throughout 2018. During F8, Zuckerberg said a Messenger update would be released later in the year that will make it more streamlined.
It also looks like Messenger is getting a dark mode feature this year. While the feature was not announced during the keynote, video showed a dark mode version of Messenger.
Brands will soon be able to create AR camera effects in Messenger. The feature, currently in closed beta, will allow companies to create AR experiences that allow customers to learn, try on, and customize products.
Facebook used F8 to announce its newest hardware, the Oculus Go. Oculus Go, the first stand-alone VR headset, is available now and is shipping for $199.
Facebook believes the stand-alone nature of the Oculus Go will bring virtual reality to a much larger audience. Facebook has also partnered with Hasbro to create a collection of VR board games In addition to its partnership with Hasbro, Facebook already has more than 1,000 apps that are compatible with the Oculus Go. Read our hands-on review for our complete take.
Shared VR experiences
During the F8 keynote, Zuckerberg said he wanted VR to”create this real feeling of presence.” To create this feeling of presence, Facebook is introducing new features to create immersive spaces.
Oculus Venues allows you to experience VR with family and friends by using the Oculus Go to attend exclusive events. Oculus is partnering with NextVR to create a variety of live VR events including concerts, comedy shows, and sporting events.
This summer, Facebook will introduce 3D photos, which will allow you to capture and map experiences. Using your smartphone, you’ll be able to capture a 3D image of spaces and connect past experiences to the image.
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