By Denise Chan
Mark Zuckerberg led the second biggest F8 event this past week – just behind a certain popular movie franchise known for its cars and cast that break the laws of physics.
Zuckerberg’s F8, or “Facebook Developer Conference,” takes place once a year in Silicon Valley, where Facebook announces major updates, showcases interactive demos, and talks about social media best practices.
This year’s new feature announcements came fast and furious, with talks of how Facebook’s family of apps will grow to connect humans across the world.
“For the past decade, Facebook has focused on friends and family,” Zuckerberg said. “Our next focus is building community… in the future, technology is going to make us more productive and free us up to enjoy interacting with each other.”
Facebook already brings in 2 billion active monthly users on the platform, but now it’s about introducing technology that will enhance these relationships.
Here’s everything you need to know about F8 2017.
1) Facebook Spaces: Why Facebook Bought Oculus Rift
On Tuesday, Zuckerberg announced Facebook Spaces, a new VR app now available on the Oculus Rift. Spaces explains why Zuckerberg bought the Oculus Rift for $2 billion – it positions Facebook as a major player in social VR.
When you open Spaces, it automatically logs into your Facebook account and populates all of the information you’ve saved on your profile, including profile photos and 360-degree content.
As of right now, the functionality is somewhat limited. You can use a selfie stick to take a VR photo of yourself and your friends. There’s also a marker you can use to sketch up interactive 3D objects, like a pair of glasses that you put on your friend’s face. But nothing revolutionary like discovering new worlds together.
The Facebook team has tested out more complex activities, but they found that the more users concentrate on an activity, the less they focus on one another. The core goal for Spaces is for users to deepen in relationship with friends and family.
Don’t own an Oculus Rift? Feeling a bit of FOMO? Don’t worry – Facebook Spaces is also integrated with Facebook Messenger. Users can video call from within VR to connect with other Messengers, whether you’re on a phone, desktop, or tablet.
2) M for Messenger… Your New Digital Mom?
We’ve seen Facebook Messenger headed in this direction for a long time now. In 2014, Facebook separated Messenger from its main app, building it into its own dedicated app. Over the next few years, we saw the addition of group voice call, location sharing, doodling, third-party integrations, chatbots, and more.
Now, Facebook has announced new capabilities for M, Facebook’s Virtual Reality Assistant.
M will suggest features to use based on the conversations you’re having with friends. If someone says they’re hungry, M will suggest some nearby restaurants. If you write “you owe me $25, M will suggest a payment feature. And if your friends are talking about getting together somewhere, M might suggest ordering a Lyft.
Arielle Pardes of Wired, says that “The new M sounds like a digital …read more
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