F8 took place last week, and as usual the new tech announcements did not disappoint. Here’s what you can expect to hear about over the coming months:
1. “Clear history”
A well-timed new privacy feature was announced which will allow users to delete data that Facebook has collated from apps and websites that use its ads and analytics tool. Essentially what this means is that you can remove your data from Facebook’s data store. This will make users feel more in control of their data but could make the user experience less personalised for those who regularly clear their data out.
2. The return of app review
Following on from the privacy theme, Zuckerberg has announced that it will reopen its app review process. This is great news for developers after the Cambridge Analytica controversy led to a pause in app reviews preventing them from being able to have an input in recent changes to Facebook. This was to give the platform a chance to review and manage safety and privacy. Zuckerberg took to the stage to tell developers “we’re hard at work making sure people don’t misuse this platform so you can all keep building things that people love, and today I’m happy to share that we’re reopening app reviews so you can all keep moving forward”.
In a bid to further its aim of driving “meaningful connections” Facebook has decided to launch a dating feature. This allows users to make a profile visible to non-friends who also have a dating profile. Matches will be made using Facebook data, with an accompanying new messaging inbox specifically for FaceDate.
4. Instagram chat and anti-bullying
The already popular Instagram Messenger is getting a revamp to include video chat which we all know is a hit on Messenger and WhatsApp. There will also be new filters to protect users from bullying comments and the Explore tab is expected to be improved.
5. Oculus Go – Facebook’s new VR headset
The standalone headset is heavy competition for other models which need to be plugged into a phone or other device. Oculus Go has already been put onto the market at $199 for the 32GB onboard storage version or $249 for the 64GB version.
6. VR memories and 3D photos
Facebook has not just stopped its VR tech at Oculus. It’s also adding 3D visualisations and models to your Newsfeed and, incredibly, going to start converting 2D photos into 3D VR memories.
7. Oculus TV
Facebook has created a TV channel, Facebook Watch, for viewing through the Oculus Go headset. It is expected that Netflix and Hulu will also be available on the device shortly. Clearly they’re taking VR seriously through their creation of a virtual big screen for 2D content.
8. Messenger translation
Facebook has already been trialling translation between English and Spanish within the Marketplace for U.S. users. This is all in line with Zuck’s vision of creating meaningful connections. This new feature is to be combined with the removal of the camera and games tabs within Messenger to create a simpler design.
9. Sharing to Facebook and Instagram Stories from other apps
Facebook is challenging Snapchat head on by allowing Spotify, SoundCloud, Go Pro and other apps to share media directly to Facebook and Instagram Stories. This also opens a great opportunity for music discovery and sharing.
10. WhatsApp Status hits 450 million users
Continuing with its challenge to Snapchat, WhatsApp’s Status (similar to Snapchat stories) has now reached 450 million daily active users. This is over double the amount of users Snapchat has! Keep an eye out for the recently announced addition of group video calling and stickers.
So there we have it, some pretty big announcements. We can expect big things over the next year in terms of tech and app features!