Today marked the kick-off of F8 2016 and Facebook has announced a lot of major changes that will be happening in the next decade. Of course, Mark Zuckerberg was there and detailed in his keynote presentation how the next 10 years will look for Facebook, which included a technology roadmap on how Facebook will begin to integrate new technologies, like artificial intelligence and virtual reality, to bring people closer together and ensure everyone has a voice. And, there were many announcements on what that will look like moving forward.
Day one of F8 included these announcements:
A new Messenger Platform (Still in Beta)
There is no doubt messenger is an extremely popular way of communication. According to Facebook there are more than 900 million people around the work that communicate with friends, families, and business - every month! It was the fasted growing app in 2015 and is still the second most popular app on iOS.
Because of the popularity of Messenger, Facebook has been continuing to expand what people can do with messenger, focusing on creating engaging experience. To create even more engagement with deeper interactions, Facebook will be launching the Messenger Platform with bots and the ability to send or receive API.
There will also be more discovery tools, like plugins for websites, usernames, and Messenger Codes, alongside a prominent search surface in Messenger. Facebook News Feed ads will let users open up new threads on Messenger. A customer matching option will let messages sent through SMS instead be sent through Messenger.
Bots for Messenger
The new Messenger platform will also include bots. Bots will be able to help with automated subscription content, such as weather or traffic updates, and send out customized messages like receipts, shipping notifications, and live automated messages. These bots will be interacting directly with your audience! As a part of the send or receive API, you’ll be able to send and receive text, but also send images and interactive bubbles that have the ability for multiple calls-to-action.
Businesses and developers can begin to build bots for messenger today, which will need to be reviewed and approved. Facebook says it will gradually accept and approve submissions so that everyone continues to get the best experiences from Messenger.
With the tremendous success of Facebook Live, Facebook is now opening up Live API so developers can create more ways for everyone to interact and be able to share updates live through Facebook. This means you can create your own live videos on Facebook to connect with your audience. For example, media organizations can incorporate Live into their existing broadcast setup, which creates new ways to interact with their viewers. To compete with Snapchat, Facebook is planning on adding filters and other editing tools to the videos. They also plan on making live videos easier to find by replacing the messenger button with a video discovery button. You will be able to go live in Facebook Groups and Facebook Events.
New Sections for Facebook changes rolling out
Although technically announced in September, Facebook is now rolling out the changes and allowing businesses to sell their good directly on Facebook. This will also be joined with a services section that lets companies list out what they provide. If you do add a shop to your page, it will feature your products above your timeline, and under a shop tab. If someone is interested in an item you sell they can purchase it directly, without having to leave your Facebook page. Facebook will store shipping and credit card information, so you only have to enter it once. The services section works similarly, albeit without the ability for a user to purchase directly. You can add add a photo and description with each service.
Facebook Surround 360
Facebook has designed and built a 3D-360 camera system that can produce sharp and spherical footage in 3D. Stitching technology combines the video from 17 cameras, which can reduce post-production time. Design specifications and the stitching code will be made available at GitHub sometime in the summer.
Profile Expression Kit
You will be able to use third-party apps that can create fun videos that showcase your personality. There will be a closed beta that starts today. The six supported apps are: Boomerang by Instagram, Lollicam, BeautyPlus, Cinemagraph Pro by Flixel, Lollicam, MSQRD, and Vine.
Basics Simulator and Demographic Insights
Developers will have an easier time with the free basics simulator. The simulator will allow them to see how their service will show up in the product. Demographic Insights will let them more easily understand who is using their services.
People will now have the choice of logging into new apps with a phone number or email address. This will help developers grow apps, reaching new audiences.
Facebook Analytics and app updates
Facebook introduced more features for the Facebook Analytics tool, which will help developers and marketers alike, understand, reach, and expand audiences. You’ll find deeper insights, with push and in-app notifications, which is currently still in beta.
Everyone loves to share their favorite quotes on Facebook, and now you can do it more easily than ever. Quote sharing lets users share quotes they find on other websites or apps.
While it hasn’t always been the easiest thing to find, the save option has been extremely popular with 250 million people take advantage of the save feature every month, according to Facebook. Allowing users to save anything they find interesting, like articles, products, videos, and more, it will now be able to save from around the web, too. Users can save things into their Saved folder on Facebook, and then access it from whatever device they may be using. You can add the save option to your website here.
Remember, although they are being announced today, not every new feature will be available today, and when they do start rolling them out, some people will have access at different times.
Want to learn more? Follow the Developer Blog here or watch keynotes on the Facebook for Developers page here.
F8 2016 will continue tomorrow. Keynote speakers include Mike Schroepfer, Chief Technology Officer; Christine Abernathy, who leads the Open Source Program; Jay Parikh, Global Head of Engineering and Infrastructure; Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, who leads the Applied Machine Learning team; and Yaser Sheikh, head of the Oculus Research team in Pittsburgh.