TL;DR Recap of Everything Announced at Facebook’s F8 Event
Mark Zuckerberg wants to eliminate screens from your life, but first he wants to let you listen to songs with your friends via Messenger.
On its surface, F8 serves as an annual preview of Facebook’s product roadmap: the features and enhancements that will shape the platform both today and in the foreseeable future. At a deeper level, the high-profile event is a marketing exercise designed to hype Facebook’s innovations to its competitors and to the world.
Most every tech outlet sent a reporter or seven to San Jose this week to attend the two-day showcase. Here’s a recap of everything you might have missed.
For Facebook, the future starts now
At F8, Mark Zuckerberg rehashed his long-term vision for the company, which centers on a few key pillars, including the democratization of internet connectivity on a global scale, more powerful artificial intelligence and the infusion of VR and AR into its product over the next decade.
Zuckerberg expanded on his AR vision, explaining that he sees Facebook as an opportunity to merge the physical and digital worlds in new and exciting ways. As of the event, developers can begin to build AR experiences for the Facebook app’s camera.
Looking more long term, Zuckerberg expressed a future product where special glasses could be used to layer information called upon digitally (via Facebook) onto real world experiences. He cited immersive street art and restaurant menus as examples.
VR hangouts–Creepy? Cool? #BOTH
F8 also debuted a new way to hang out with friends remotely. Via a virtual avatar, you can engage and interact with your friends, so long as everyone owns the Oculus headset.
Bots on bots
There are 100,000 bots available for Messenger’s 1.2 billion users (though no doubt a small handful of them are getting sizable usage). Facebook is banking on bots gaining even more momentum by introducing them to group chats and creating a discover tab. The introduction of a Messenger Platform earlier this month garnered significant buzz all its own, since its existence begins to place FB in direct competition with Google and Apple.
The modern mixtape?
One of lighter features presented as part of a more comprehensive discussion on the future of Messenger was a demo of the new Spotify integration, which allows groups of friends to discover and enjoy new music together. (@all my friends: Is this the song of the summer?)
Workplace 4 All
On top of all of this, Facebook also recently announced that it’s testing a freemium model of its Workplace collaboration product. This move positions the company squarely against Slack, Microsoft and Google Suite. The current Workplace model has been repositioned as “standard,” and Facebook will begin selling a more premium version by end of year.
Chance the Rapper
Chance the Rapper performed at a surprise pop-up show in San Jose. While this seemingly has little to do with tech, it was an interesting pick. The artist has been using Facebook Live to announce his charitable giving efforts in his hometown of Chicago, and is the perfect embodiment of Facebook’s desire to use their tech for good.
F8 in one word: Ambitious
Facebook aspires to be so much more than a social network—in many ways it already is—and the 10-year vision outlined in San Jose this week demonstrates where Mark Zuckerberg hopes to take his company in the months and years ahead.
Facebook at #SMWNYC this year
At #SMWNYC, Megan Summers, who runs production globally for Facebook’s Creative Shop team, explored new storytelling principles and languages in the age of VR, 360° Video and the News Feed.
Megan explained how virtual reality and 360° video is one of today’s most talked about subjects in the media and technology space, and how it’s starting to change so many other industries too, such as gaming, entertainment, medicine, journalism, real estate, shopping, travel, fitness, and much more.
Oh, and tweet of the day honors go to Verge’s Casey Newton:
TWITTER: Editing tweets is too complicated to implement
FACEBOOK: Someday you will hear with your skin
— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) April 19, 2017
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