On 30th April 2019, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered his keynote at the Facebook F8 developer conference. A number of announcements were made at this event — some big and some small. We’ll go through each major change coming for Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, and Oculus.
Right off the bat, Mark acknowledged how Facebook’s reputation is deteriorating in terms of a private platform. He did not mention any particular event but did hint that he is well aware of the security mishaps his company is usually involved in.
Later on, he announced updates and fundamental changes to several Facebook apps. Here’s a look at all the changes.
Facebook F8 Developer Conference
Most of the changes mentioned on Instagram will have the objective of reducing the aggression with which people interact with each other online. However, all these changes will be first tested extensively in the coming years before being rolled out to the public.
The changes rolling out immediately include the integration of polls, quizzes and the interactive features in the Instagram camera that’ll be collectively called the creative mode. The next changes will focus on making the follow count less ‘prominent’ on Instagram.
Another upcoming feature on Instagram called Private Like will hide the number of likes on each photo in your news feed. You’ll be able to see who liked the photo and count the number of likes yourself, but no total number will be featured on the photo itself.
Users will be able to see the number of likes on their own photos, but only if they want to.
A list of prototype features which could launch in the coming years includes, a small ‘Nudge’ to make people rethink when they interact too aggressively online. Another feature, Away Mode, will allow users to move away from Instagram when they’re going through a rough patch in their lives. The comment filter will also be present to remove any unwanted comments.
Most changes in Whatsapp are business focussed with a strong focus on privacy and security. Officials during the Keynote mentioned that in India almost a million people used the Whatsapp payments app, a feature which will be rolled out internationally later this year.
A business product catalog option will become available on Instagram allowing vendors and business owners to showcase their products in the chat. Officials confirmed that around 60% of the closing of business deals took place in the Instagram chat.
First and foremost, the size of the messenger app has been reduced to less than 30MB from 127MB and it’d only take a mere 1.5 seconds to start. Messenger will also use end-to-end encrypted by default. You’ll also be able to make a video call to your friends outside of Messenger on Whatsapp and Instagram.
The second tab on Messenger will now also become a separate social media platform. Its functionality lies somewhere in between Whatsapp and Instagram. Messenger will include better support for status, stories and special moments which you and your friends would want to remember. The Messenger desktop is also on the way and it’ll feature dark-mode.
Facebook now has a brand new icon and the app’s user interface has changed significantly with a heavy emphasis on groups and communities. This update is being called FB5 by the company.
An important change users will notice while using the Facebook app is the ability to pick up the news feed right where they left it. It’ll allow users to never miss any important news update or meme.
Facebook’s primary focus is to make people interact more within groups. A number of times, the speakers said the phrase the ‘future is private’ and that’s exactly what new features in the Facebook app will prompt people to do. This new update from Facebook is known as FB5.
Facebook has introduced several new features built around Shared Groups and Communities. For health groups, the admins will be able to post updates on behalf of members anonymously to help discuss sensitive health topics.
Gaming community on Facebook will get a separate chat feature. It will allow players to create sub-threads on any gaming topic they want.
Facebook Dating is another feature based around groups. It will allow users to discover new potential dating candidates with the use of ‘Secret Crush.’
Secret Crush will allow users to create a list of people that they’d want to date. If the same people put you on their crush list, then you’ll get a notification for the same. In theory, it sounds really good and way better than Tinder, in my opinion. However, I’d still like to use it practically before giving out my full review.
Another feature ‘Meet new friends’ will allow users to discover new potential friends based on shared interests. It’ll include people from your school, workplace or around your city.
On the business side, Facebook introduced job templates to make hiring using the social app easier. The app also introduced support for native shipping, meaning sellers across the US will now be able to send packages and receive payments via Facebook Native Shipping.
Spark AR, Oculus Rift, and Portal Update
Facebook announced the Spark AR studio for Mac and Windows. The open beta will soon become available for Instagram.
The smart video screen from Facebook called Portal will be launched internationally. It will feature video calls and voice calls using both Whatsapp and Messenger. The calls will be end-to-end encrypted for increased security.
For VR, Facebook has revealed two new virtual reality headsets, the Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest. The former is an updated VR headset with better resolution and improved tracking.
Oculus Quest, on the other hand, is a wireless VR headset. It features Oculus Insight, which will scan the area around users to create a map and store it in the local storage. Oculus Quest will also have streaming capability so people will be able to see on TV what you see in your headset.
Pre-orders for both VR headsets are live and both Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest cost $399. Their delivery will begin on 21st May 2019.