Facebook’s annual event kicked off in San Jose, bringing together a community of developers that work on creating apps and other features used by almost two billion people. New features take the limelight on stage as developers are on the edge of their seats. Here are the most significant features that everyone is talking about.
The social network is planting its feet firmly on the ground in augmented reality by making Facebook’s immense computing power available to developers. A new tool named ‘AR Studio’ will enable developers to use complex technology such as image recognition without having to invest substantial amounts themselves.
Messenger gains functionality boost
Messenger will be evolving as David Marcus, head of messenger is planning to integrate a host of new features into the app. Facebook want to give users the ability to interact more with businesses. For example, if a user chats with some friends about a meetup they could buy some gig tickets, make dinner reservations or book a ride-share without leaving the Messenger app.
Socialise in a virtual world
VR technology is not all about gaming, Facebook will be taking advantage of their Oculus VR acquisition to create a social platform. Facebook Spaces will enable friends to gather in VR, as cartoon avatars where they can lark about, play games, share photos and even do a real world video call with someone. It all sounds very Black Mirror, but it could bring a bit of silly fun to those who are not in visiting distance of their friends. However, for this technology to really flourish, the cost of entry for VR experiences at home needs to be reduced so that Facebook Spaces can go mainstream.
Late last year, Facebook launched Workplace, the company’s answer to Slack to help with productivity at work. Facebook has announced that there will be a free version of Workplace, available towards the end of this year as they are introducing a new paid-for premium version. Better admin tools, cloud file storage and sharing are just some of the features made available to paid users while the free version will just hold the basics.
This year’s F8 is all about encouraging developers to use Facebook’s services to innovate useful features that have potential to reach millions. However Facebook has a challenge up ahead, to bring more people together while addressing ways to prevent harassment and abuse.