Facebook’s F8 Summit, a two-day developer conference hosted in San Francisco and accessible to millions via live streaming, packed quite the punch this year. While there was speculation around certain product launches and other technological initiatives, the overwhelming roll out of ideas and latest features exceeded expectations. Given the sheer volume of information provided across the two days, we’ve created a thorough summary of the conference and what you can expect from Facebook over the next few months to ten years.
Before diving into the feature announcements and product launches, it’s important to know where all of these ideas are stemming from. The overarching goal of Facebook’s 10-year technology roadmap is to “give everyone the power to share anything with anyone” as Mark Zuckerberg affirmed during his keynote speech. In essence, he wants to foster a globally connected community, where no one is excluded from opportunities based on their location and other currently limiting factors. As you’ll see from the roundup below, each announcement from the two days ties into this broader goal in thoughtful and innovative ways.
Day 1 Highlights:
Live API – Facebook Live was introduced to the market very recently, and it’s taking live streaming video by storm. On Tuesday, Facebook informed the world that developers will now have access to an API that plugs into Facebook Live. This integration allows millions of users to experience video in real time and is a huge jump forward for video streaming, which is an ever-growing demand across all social media.
Bots for Messenger – Bots will now be available for the Messenger platform. Bots provide automation of tasks that are traditionally done by humans. For businesses, they are largely beginning to replace customer service phone calls and instead offer real-time live customer support chat sessions while customer is on the business’s website. It was even rumored that they may replace 1-800 numbers in the near future. Businesses can utilize bots to provide subscription service updates to highly customized support conversations. It only makes sense to attach service-oriented capabilities to Messenger, as it has rapidly grown in popularity over the past year.
Facebook Surround 360 – The Surround 360 is the latest development in 3D-360 camera realm. Its spherical footage weaves the video from 17 different cameras to produce a seamless 360 image. The stitching technology will reduce post-production editing time and you can expect to see this on the market in the summer.
Profile Expression Kit – You can now create profile videos without (many) third-party app restrictions. As we mentioned before, videos are driving more and more traffic every day, so allowing for personalized profile videos was a logical next step for Facebook. Boomerang from Instagram and Vine are two examples of video-creation applications that now successfully integrate with Facebook profiles. This way people can choose the app which best reflects their personality to create videos that truly reflect who they are to the world.
Free Basics Simulator & Demographic Insights – Developers rejoice! The Free Basics Simulator provides developers with a view of how their services will look in the product. The Demographic Insights gives developers greater analytical data about their audience and who is actually using their services.
Account Kit – This is a developer’s dream come true: people can now log into apps using only their phone number or email address, instead of having to create individual profiles for each app. This process allows for impulse installs and usage from consumers, and removes any hesitation that arises when prompted to complete a profile or provide more data than what is perceived as necessary. This should do wonders for increasing overall number of users for each new app released to the public.
Facebook Analytics for Apps updates – Push notifications and other specific measurable metrics are being introduced to the existing Facebook Analytics for Apps platform. These updates are in service of growing businesses by capturing more informed data and having a better understanding of audience insights. Facebook is currently beta testing these upgrades and you should look forward to seeing them across all of Facebook in the near future.
Quote Sharing – Sharing your favorite quotes from other websites or apps has now gotten easier through the Quote Sharing feature. You can highlight the desired text and opt to share directly to Facebook, either with a specific person, group or to your entire network.
Save Buttons – The Save Button allows users to bookmark posts, videos, articles, and more from across the internet into their Saved folder within Facebook. This feature is accessible from any device, so if you save an article using your Facebook mobile app, you can read it later on your desktop web browser. It’s like Facebook’s version of Pinterest.
Ready for more? Here are Day 2 Highlights:
Connectivity Lab – The Connectivity Lab released two terrestrial connectivity systems: Terragraph and Project ARIES. Terragraph is designed to bring wireless high-speed internet to densely populated urban areas. Affixed to light poles and other stationary urban objects, the Terragraph antennas blanket the city with WiFi, which improves speed and quality.
On the flipside, Project ARIES aims to provide quality WiFi to rural areas that are currently with little to no internet connectivity. This system is comprised of a base with 96 antennas that transmit WiFi without interruption or displacement. These products are direct outputs of Facebook’s desire to increase global connectivity.
And last, but certainly not least: Social VR – A newly established Social Virtual Reality team at Facebook indicated that VR is coming down the pike and will be in demand for social platforms in the near future. The team is exploring different technologies to provide the best interactive experience while in a virtual environment, with a specific focus on cultivating different ways to communicate through voice recognition and body language. Specifically, an Oculus headset demonstration at F8 showed where VR is headed, highlighting a 360-degree tour of London with major emphasis on how realistic the experience was to the demonstrators. The VR technology is still in testing mode and unavailable to the public. Stay tuned!
The F8 Summit successfully positioned Facebook as an integral component of the digital world and that there are no intentions of slowing down in the next ten years. What is your take on this year’s F8 Summit? Let us know in the comments section below.