Eight images of Facebook’s future from its F8 conference

Mark Zuckerbergs social network is betting big-hearted on augmented world, hasnt given up on VR but doesnt have much to say about the Facebook killer

As Apple has WWDC and Google has I/ O, so Facebook has F8: the social networks large-hearted annual consultation is increasingly thriven, from a behavior to speak to developers about the upcoming a modification to its stage to an phenomenon where the whole world sounds about the stimulating brand-new products received from the House of Zuckerberg.

Facebooks chief executive may not quite have Steve Jobs infamous world deformation orbit the social networks standard macrocosm is more like an artificial world where none of the outside nature probes but he can still wow where reference is wants to. Heres the eight biggest things to take away from the San Jose event.

1) Augmented reality is Facebooks big future bet

Facebook wants you to use its camera for more than exactly taking drawings. If theres one word from this years F8, its that.

Sure, youll still be able to snap pics and send them to acquaintances. But the company too wants to adhesive more and more detail over the real world to create a second, augmented layer.

Some of the features of this camera stage resonate genuinely helpful or at least, merriment. Facebook would be willing to share pics of your run with your gait and period superimposed over the top, for instance, and it reverie of a daytime when youll be able to leave a review of a restaurant by pinning it to the window.( That one feels like it would have a few hitches setting out in practice, though ).

Other aspects seem less good. Substantiating one simpler ability of the brand-new camera, Zuckerberg showed that you can add a second coffee mug to your drawing, so it looks like youre not having breakfast alone. Which is surely the bleakest situation ever said in a billion-dollar fellowship presentation.

2) Its still reproducing Snapchat

One word that wasnt said on stage, though: Snapchat. Which is odd, because weve investigated a lot of these features before. The transitory messaging app/ social network for hip teenages in rich countries popularised the relevant recommendations of the AR camera, steadily modernizing its own give from something which simply whammed a few location-aware personas over the top of a pic to facial recognition-based lenses which make you into a dog. This is something teens like.

Facebooks photocopiers have been overheating with the speed at which its been replicating Snapchats boasts, so it was probably looking forward to the ability to finally overtake its competitor in LA. But “its just not” to be: six hours before F8 started, Snapchat secreted its own AR functionality, which its calling World Lenses. The new lenses are slightly less feature-rich than what Facebook is promising, but unlike the Camera Platform, its already on telephones now. Sure, its sneaky and underhanded to gazump Facebook like that, but Snapchats owed a little bit of payback. Rating? Snapchat 21: 0 Facebook.

3) Facebook hasnt given up on VR

An attendee tries the brand-new Facebook Spaces virtual reality platform during the annual Facebook F8 developers seminar in San Jose, California. Photograph: Stephen Lam/ Reuters

Facebook hasnt forgotten about Oculus, the virtual reality firm it bought in 2013 for a cool$ 2bn. It may have quietly lost the companys co-founder a few months after it was revealed that he funded a shitposting for Trump political action committee, but the concoction itself continues to see brand-new assist. Case in object? Facebook Cavity, a VR chatroom where you and your best friend can hang out and do stuff.

Its not much different from a number of apps on Oculus today, like Bigscreen, which let you chill with other people in VR except that its tied in to Facebook proper, meaning that its going to be a lot easier to integrate with your dwelling affection group. The busines is also making efforts to include people who dont own the expensive hardware necessary to experience true-blue VR, letting simple-minded smartphone users join in via a flat video call.

The developers havent been forgotten: one of the nerdier announcements was a new coding framework for VR, is built around Facebooks React platform. It may sound niche, but React is a javascript library, more commonly used for building user interfaces for the web. If React VR takes off, it could make virtual reality growing from a prohibitively expensive pastime to something that companies can do as readily as knocking up a mobile app.

4) Its thinking a lot about the money

One of the onstage executives presenting alongside Zuckerberg was Deborah Liu, whose era profession is the companys head of concoction management for monetisation. That should be enough of a indicate about how Facebook hopes this bold brand-new frontier should work for its bottom line

Lius past at the company was thoughts up the Mobile App Install Ad product those adverts on your newsfeed that ask you to install brand-new apps and competitions but this time, she was talking about all the branding opportunities the Camera Platform offerings. That includes persons restaurant reviews that the company envisages people leaving tacked up, discoverable by a telephone; and it also includes the more personal lesson of a birthday word generated over a pic of her daughter. I can form her birthday even more meaningful, Liu said as she prompted some visual effects.

Its not just adverts, though. The firm too hopes to give developers the chance to use its visual tools to make their own AI-powered, AR-realised applications and plugins for the camera, potentially provoking another application boom comparable to the creation of the smartphone in the first place.

5) Messenger is becoming more like WeChat

David Marcus, vice president of Messaging Commodities at Facebook, speaks on stagecoach. Image: Stephen Lam/ Reuters

Not everything was about Facebook itself. The companys second biggest commodity, Messenger, likewise got a raft of boasts, facilitating bring it further towards Facebooks clear brainchild for it: Chinese messaging app WeChat.

While Messenger has a billion useds, its not as been incorporated in their daily lives to the extent that WeChat has achieved in its dwelling nation. There, the chitchat app is used to pay legislations, work plane tickets and follow celebrities, as well as simple one-to-one communication.

Facebooks early experiments with chatbots was a step in that attitude, and now the company has announced an renovation of its platform to try and bringing more and more of our united life in to Messenger. That necessitates simple fun, like turn-by-turn multiplayer activities and bots wholl play with you if your friends arent available; it entails connection with the physical world, thanks to the additive of a new organize of QR code that they are able to examine at happens to immediately connect with brands; and it entails new disclosure peculiarities to let you actually find some of those bots without needing to be told where they are beforehand.

6) Its working with the likes of Apple and Spotify

Facebook cant do it alone, though: unifying the world behind Messenger too necessitates the world needs to join in. So one of the most important coups for the pulpit relates to the fact that its managed to convince Apple to build an extension for Apple Music, so that users can browse their music library from within the app to mail songs to friends.

Its not quite the first time Apple Musics stirred it outside of Apples walled garden-variety the company separated brand-new field where reference is exhausted an Android app for the streaming service but it would point out that both companies is seriously wider support for their new products.

Apple Musics not the only one to join up, though; Spotify has a same extension. And unlike Apple, which could only say that the Music add-on is coming soon, Spotifys extension is launching alongside the Messenger platform.

7) It wants to humiliates the workplace chat tool Slack

One more happen: Facebook wants to be in your workplace, wherever that is. The busines already uncovered its product for businesses, announced Workplace( formed in Britain, for those working patriotic conglomerates) but it was previously sloped at fairly large fellowships. With pricing that started at$ 3 per customer per month, it wasnt something that an uncertain busines would be able to jump onboard with, even though there is a three-month free trial.

Now, Facebooks taken a make from indie darling Slack, which triggered current trends for business software being cool in the first place. By the end of this year, a brand-new touchstone rank will be free for any corporation that wants to use it, with professions only needing to pay if they want more and more efficient admin implements and cloud storage.

Of course, while Facebook is encroaching on Slacks turf, Slack more is beginning to move on to Facebooks: the very existence of the free tier of the app means that some useds have found extremely non-commercial avail ourselves of it, forming Slack radicals to discuss everything from podcasts to role playing games.

8) Facebook doesnt hitherto have any answers to its biggest problems

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