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Recap of F8 News and Announcements: Day 1

Finally, the long anticipated F8 Conference in San Jose, California kicked off yesterday and there’s already been some very interesting and exciting announcements! We have two of our best men there representing The Next Ad, and on top of receiving free Oculus Go headsets, they were delighted to share some of the things they learned there with us! Here’s a recap of yesterday’s main highlights, stay tuned for more news and announcements tomorrow!

5 min read

Privacy

Over the last two months, the privacy of users’ data has been the hot topic on everyone’s lips, as a result of the improper use of data of over 87 million people on Facebook due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook has promised to crack down on this issue and has pledged to improve its data protection and security, whilst increasing transparency to its users.

One of the most important developments here, is introducing a feature that allows users to completely clear and delete their browsing history from the platform. Additionally, you can set the option to decline Facebook from ever collecting this information again. This represents a major update to the platform, and one that aims to bring back the trust that Facebook seems to have lost over the last few months.

Mr Zuckerberg also pledged Facebook will continue to step up its continuous battle against the spread of Fake News.

Facebook

Much of the first day’s emphasis was on connecting people and bringing them closer together. And this was highlighted by introducing one of Facebook’s brand new features: Watch Party. This lets you watch videos with Facebook friends, while interacting in chat in real time! When this will launch is not exactly clear, but it is expected on the platform sooner rather than later.

Another addition to Facebook is the ‘Groups tab’. Zuckerberg explained during his speech that “People tell us Groups are the most meaningful part of Facebook. A new Groups tab makes Groups more central to the overall Facebook experience.” So rather than searching through your entire News Feed to find relevant Groups posts, they can now be found in a specifically dedicated Groups tab. This will be visualised with a new ‘join group’ button and plug-in, which will soon be made available to developers and administrators.

Facebook Dating

Yes, that’s right! Facebook is stepping into the dating game with this brand new addition to the Facebook platform, which will be built into Facebook's existing mobile app. Zuckerberg was eager to tell us that this feature is not necessarily aimed at helping ‘hook-ups’ take place, but is rather designed to build ‘real, long-term relationships.’ Presumably this was mentioned in order to disassociate itself from currently popular dating apps such as Tinder. Users can also connect this dating feature to Facebook events, helping people find their potential match at, for example, a festival or a party. 

Messenger

Facebook has announced that it will be redesigning the Messenger app, in order to simplify its use and improve processes and interactions. Advertisers will be extremely interested to know that a new ‘Customer Chat’ plug-in has been launched, allowing businesses to integrate Messenger into their own website! Since Messenger has become an important platform for many businesses, this is very big news.

Furthermore, Messenger is set to significantly increase its visual appeal by bringing Augmented Reality (AR) to the Messenger platform for businesses. This will help customers visualise products before deciding on whether to purchase them or not.

Confirming what’s already been known for a couple of weeks, Messenger is now able to support rich media such as 4k videos and 360 photos.

Finally, an awesome new feature was revealed, offering people real-time translations within the Messenger app. All this with the help of Facebook’s digital assistant: ‘M’. This is currently only available in English and Spanish, but many more are expected to be added soon. This will open the way to people engaging in a conversation using different languages... Cool!

Instagram

Finally, making video calls on Instagram will soon become a reality! Even better, the feature will also be expanded in order to allow group video calls to take place. Users will be able to view the video chats in full screen, or in a minimised version while they continue scrolling through their News Feeds.

The gift that keeps on giving! It’s been confirmed that GoPro and Spotify will both be available for integration within the Instagram Stories feature. Users will be able to share footage they took with their GoPro, or music they’re listening to on Spotify, with their friends or family through their Stories. You can also proceed to edit and add to the story, and send it as a private message to someone. On top of that, Instagram is also set to integrate Augmented Reality into its system, offering users the chance to play around with photo filters that promise to be numerous and entertaining.

Instagram’s Explore tab has also been redesigned and optimised, with the view of improving users’ searching capabilities to discover new, appealing content on the platform.

Lastly, a ‘bully filter’ has also been introduced to Instagram. This feature will block out any inappropriate, aggressive or threatening comments automatically, including posts and comments on the platform. It will hide any language that intends to harrass or upset people. Disabling this filter has also been made possible, under the ‘Comment Control’ tab.

WhatsApp

A telling statistic that was shared with the F8 audience may surprise a few. WhatsApp stories has now hit 450 million active daily users, easily surpassing Snapchat and Instagram Stories. In fact, it has more than twice as many daily users than Snapchat does, when it comes to sharing Stories on the platforms.

Mark Zuckerberg further revealed that video group calls will also soon be made available on WhatsApp, building on its current set of communication features.

Another small, but amusing addition to WhatsApp, is the introduction of Stickers. These can now be used in chats, alongside the current set of emojis and GIFs.

With regards to WhatsApp Business, Facebook has declared it has plans to expand the app, however, as of yet, no API announcements have been made.

Oculus Go

Our man in Cali enjoying the new Oculus Go Headset!

To top it all off, the Oculus Go Headset was officially launched at the F8. It will be placed on the market with a retail price of $199, and has a plethora of integrated applications and games in it. This state of the art headset promises to change the face of gaming forever.

Those lucky enough to be in attendance at the F8 in San Jose, were also gifted a free Oculus Go Headset… Awesome! We can’t wait to try it out!

We’re so excited by all these announcements and simply can’t wait for what’s next at tomorrow’s events at the F8! Stay tuned for more news and updates tomorrow! Don’t forget you can tune in and watch by registering here.

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