Facebook F8 2019: Major Announcements and Highlights
Day 1 of a two-day long Facebook’s F8 conference, held at San Jose, California wrapped up last night with a lot of emphasis on privacy (heh), improvements across different apps, and introduction of a few new features. And after having a pretty rough year, the company shared its plans at the event to update its family of apps that includes Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger.
In case you missed to catch up with the event, here’s every major announcement made on day one:
To bring people together and help them connect with people who share the same interests, Facebook is making certain changes to bring groups at the center of its service. A series of such similar improvements in the Facebook app include:
- A completely fresh design, called FB5, that the company claims is simpler, faster, more immersive, and brings communities at the center. A few changes to the app can be seen starting today, followed by a new desktop site in the upcoming months.
- With more focus on groups, Facebook is introducing a few new additions like:
– re-designed groups tabs with improved discovery, along with a personalized feed of activity across all user groups.
– relevant group recommendations in places like Marketplace, Today In, the Gaming tab, and Facebook Watch, with the ability to discover more content from groups in News Feed and share it directly with friends and family.
– community-specific features that allow group members to ask relevant questions or share content in their respective groups.
- Expansion of Facebook Dating to 14 new countries and the introduction of a new feature called Secret Crush. Using the feature users can select up to nine of their Facebook friends who they want to express their interest in and add to the Secret Crush list. On the other hand, if the person on the list happens to be on Facebook Dating, they will be notified of the same. And if they also add the user to their Secret Crush list, a match is made. However, if they don’t, no one will ever come to know the name of the person that has been added to the Secret Crush list.
- To allow people to meet new friends, Facebook is introducing a new opt-in service called Meet New Friends. Once a user opts-in, they will be presented with people from different communities like a school, workplace, or city who have also opted for the service.
- Facebook will soon be allowing people to ship Marketplace items to anywhere in the continental US and pay for the same on Facebook. The feature introduces buyers to shopping more items and sellers in reaching more buyers and getting paid securely.
- In order to allow users to discover what’s happening around in their area, Facebook is introducing a new Events tab on the app that would allow users to get recommendations, discover local businesses, and coordinate with friends to better plan their meetings.
Facebook’s focus on creating a more private communications platform, led to the introduction of several new features and products to help people, businesses, and developers build close connections. Here are a few of them:
- In order to create a lighter and faster app, Facebook has re-built the entire architecture of Messenger from the ground up to provide a better experience to its users. The newly redesigned version of the app will roll out later this year.
- With Messenger, Facebook is introducing a new way for users to watch their favorite videos from Facebook with friends or family in real time, even when they are at a different physical location. In addition, the new feature will allow them to seamlessly share a video from Facebook on Messenger or invite other contacts to watch together while messaging or on a video chat. Facebook is currently testing the feature and is expected to roll it out globally later this year.
- To provide a seamless messaging experience to users, Facebook is bringing a new desktop app for messenger on both Mac and Windows. Users can download the app on their desktop and have group video calls, collaborate on projects, or even multi-task while having a chat in Messenger. The new app will be rolled out globally later this year.
- In an effort to provide users with the content that they care about the most on Facebook, the company is introducing a dedicated space on the app where users can discover stories and messages with their closest friends and family. Similar to most of the features, this feature will also roll out later this year.
- To improve business, Facebook is adding lead generation templates to Ads Manager which can be used by businesses to easily create an ad and drive people to a QnA style of conversation where they can better understand their customers. And, they are also creating appointment experience to allow customers to book appointments within a Messenger conversation.
With WhatsApp Business, people are starting to consider the platform as a good way to connect with businesses or customers. And to enhance this experience and provide customers with more information about a business, Facebook is introducing the business catalog, which can be used by businesses to showcase their goods to potential customers.
Similar to most of the other Facebook services, Instagram also gets a few updates and new features to allow people to connect with each other and their interests. Building upon this, here are the new additions to the platform:
- To allow users to shop what their favorite creators are wearing on Instagram, the platform has introduced a new way to shop, wherein, all that they need to do is tap on their favorite creator’s styles and buy it on the spot, without having to go through the tedious process of taking a screenshot, direct messaging the creator, and eventually leaving the app to buy the product online. The testing for the new feature will begin next week, with a rollout soon.
- In order to help people raise fund for a nonprofit that they support, Instagram will now allow users to add a donation sticker in stories to create a fundraiser and in-turn raise money. The company says, doing it this way will give 100% of the money directly to the nonprofit they are supporting. It will be available in the US starting today, with roll out in other countries over the coming months.
- In the coming weeks, Instagram is going to introduce a new and improved camera that will offer popular creative tools like effects and interactive stickers to allow users to express themselves in a much better way.
- With Portal, the company claims it has introduced new ways in which people can connect more deeply in video calls. And now, it is expanding. Beginning with Canada first, followed by the introduction of both Portal and Portal+ in Europe this fall. It is also bringing WhatsApp to Portal, with the promise of end-to-end encryption to all calls.
- The new Spark AR Studio now supports both Windows and Mac and introduces new sets of features for collaboration. It is also opening Instagram to its entire creator and developer ecosystem this summer.
- Two of the newest virtual reality headsets from the company, Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S, start shipping May 21. To give you a background, the Oculus Quest is the company’s first all-in-one VR gaming system that lets users pick up and play anywhere without being tethered to a PC. On the other hand, the Oculus Rift S is specially built for those with a gaming PC and promises to offer an immersive content experience. The pricing for both the headsets starts at $399 with pre-order starting today on Oculus’ official website.
That’s pretty much it from Day 1 of Facebook’s F8 conference. What announcements are you most excited about? Do let us know in the comments section.