Culture

Most Important Highlights of F8 Developer Conference 2019

Louai Nasser

May 1, 2019

Finally, Facebook’s long-awaited F8 Developer Conference in San Jose, California kicked off yesterday and there have already been some very intriguing and exciting announcements! Take a look at this recap from yesterday’s conference and stay tuned for more news and updates from the second half of this annual event tomorrow!

Similarly to previous years, F8 2019’s first day kicked off with a keynote speech by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg where he discussed a host of updates, new features and this year’s focus: “The future is private.”

Let’s run through the most important and eye-catching highlights that were revealed during the first half of this two-day event.

Facebook

Groups Central

One of the biggest changes that Facebook is implementing to its main service, app and website is placing Groups at the center of Facebook as the social media giant aims to find new ways to bring people together.

Facebook explains that there are tens of millions of active Groups on Facebook and that people who find a Group that suits their preferences and interests, those groups often start playing a central role in their overall Facebook experience. Therefore, the social media giant has decided to introduce some new tools that will make discovering and interacting with groups easier.

  • The Groups tab has been redesigned so that new Groups can be discovered more easily, whilst also offering you a personalised feed of all the activity that takes place across the different groups you’re in.
  • More Groups content to start appearing on your News Feed, which will start prioritising Groups and allowing you to share content that you see on the News Feed straight with your group.
  • New features will be added to support different types of groups and communities. For example, Job groups will now have an added template for job openings, whilst Health Support groups will start offering the possibility to ask questions without disclosing your name. Gaming groups will see the addition of new chat features so gamers can communicate with greater ease.

Events will also start to play a more important role on the platform as a new Events tab is being introduced which will allow you to see what’s happening in your area. This tab will also offer you local recommendations, businesses you may want to discover and make it easier to coordinate with Facebook friends to make plans together.

Brand New Design

Another huge announcement was that Facebook is rolling a fresh new design for Facebook that is simpler, faster and way more immersive! With this new design, Facebook hopes to make it easier for users to find exactly what they’re looking for, whilst making your most used apps and features more accessible from the News Feed.

Facebook users may start to notice some of these updates in their Facebook app straightaway, although the new desktop site will be launched somewhere in the next couple of months.

Here’s a preview of what it will look like!

Finding Your Secret Crush

At last year’s F8, Facebook Dating was introduced to a handful of countries around the world for testing. Facebook has now decided to add a new feature and expand the Dating service to 14 more countries based in Asia and Latin America.

This feature will go by the name of ‘Secret Crush’. It’s basically Facebook’s way of trying to connect you to your… well… Secret Crush!

This newly introduced feature will allow you to create a secret list of your Facebook friends who you are attracted to, regardless of whether they have already set up a Facebook dating profile or not. If someone on your list is also using Secret Crush and has also added you to their list, Facebook will notify you that there’s been a match! If your crush didn’t create a Dating profile or Secret Crush list then no one will ever find out!

Messenger

Harder, Faster, Better, Stronger

The Messenger app is set to become THE fastest messaging app out there! In Zuckerberg’s keynote speech, he revealed that by rebuilding the backbone of Messenger from scratch, they’ve managed to create a messaging app that is lighter than ever before, downloading at unprecedentedly high speeds. Expect this app to be fully rolled out at some point this year!

Watching Videos Together

Want to start watching videos together with your Facebook friends through Messenger? This will become possible very soon! All you’ll need to do is simply share a video from the Facebook app on Messenger and invite other Facebook friends to watch together. You’ll be able to either talk to each other via a video chat or by messaging each other.

This awesome new feature is currently in the testing phase and can be expected to be rolled out worldwide later on this year.

Messenger as a Desktop App

Messenger has become an increasingly popular messaging service, so Facebook has now decided to roll out a desktop app for it!

This app can be downloaded on either a Windows or MacOS desktop and will allow users to make group video calls, collaborate on work projects and of course enjoy a seamlessly smooth chatting & messaging experience.

Again, this is app is currently being tested out in a few countries with the global roll out expected in the second half of 2019.

WhatsApp

Introducing the Business Catalog

Earlier this week we told you all about the WhatsApp’s latest updates and announcements that had been made over the month of April. However, Facebook had one more surprise up their sleeves that they chose to reveal during the F8 Facebook Developer Conference.

This one is massive for advertisers, especially those in small businesses. In the coming months, WhatsApp Business users will be able to showcase all their products through WhatsApp. This means that regular WhatsApp users will soon have the option to click on a business’ catalog and browse through their offers and products.

Users will see this catalog appear from within their chat window and will be able to easily check out what a business has to offer without having to visit their actual website. Nice!

WhatsApp Pay

The other main update here also caught many people’s eye. Zuckerberg revealed that a new payment service that will allow users to send money to each other from within WhatsApp is on the way.

He goes on to say: “I believe that it should be as easy to send money to someone as it is to send a photo. So we’re already testing this in India with about a million people. It’s being used a lot and the feedback is great. And we’re already working on rolling this out in a number of other countries later this year.”

This new addition can definitely be considered as a game-changer and could take the WhatsApp experience to a whole new level. Watch this space!

Instagram

Shopping from Influencers

Have you ever watched one of your favourite social media influencers and thought “That jacket actually looks really nice, I wonder where he got it from!”

Well, finding out such information is about to get a whole lot easier. Soon, Instagram users will be able to shop for the exact clothes that their favourite influencers & creators are watching in an image or video they just watched.

Rather than sending a message or zooming on a picture in an attempt to see what brand the clothing is from, this information will become readily available for everyone to access. Testing will commence in the upcoming week.

Promoting Fundraisers

Another interesting update is the possibility to raise money for charity through a donation sticker in Instagram Stories. By adding a certain sticker, you can encourage your friends & followers to join you in supporting your cause and those in need.

Every penny generated through these fundraisers will be sent to the charity or nonprofit of your choice. As it is currently still being tested in the US, this can be expected to be added for international users in the not too distant future.

Create Mode

Instagram also announced that it is planning on updating its current camera interface in order to allow users to share different kinds of content. This will be supported by the introduction of a new ‘Create Mode’ which users can leverage to add stuff like quizzes and more to their content.

Check out this example below:

Hiding Your Likes

For many Instagram users around the world, amassing a large number of Likes has become central to their Instagram experience. If you’re one of those people, don’t panic! You’ll still be able to see the number of likes you’ve received on your own content, but others may not.

During the F8 Conference, it was revealed that a test is currently underway in Canada where the total number of likes on a photo or video have become hidden. These Likes, visualised with a heart symbol, will be removed from the main feed, pages as well as personal profiles.

Instagram clarified this decision by explaining that they want followers to focus more on the photos and videos that are being shared on the platform, rather than the number of likes they receive.

It remains to be seen what the general reaction will be to this update, with some expressing annoyance, whilst others were quite relieved. Either way, Instagram’s message is clear: Let’s turn our focus to appreciating the quality of the content that is being shared, rather than the simple figure underneath it.

Your Thoughts

These were some really interesting, surprising and intriguing updates and announcements. We hope Day 2 at the F8 Developer Conference has even more to offer! What do you think of these latest changes? Which one caught your eye? Which ones did you really like or dislike? Let us know in the comments section below!

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