F8 is Facebook’s annual developer conference and its keynote address usually gives a good idea of what to expect from Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and other subsidiaries in the upcoming year. Some of the features are already rolling out, while others are still being tested and will launch later this year.
Let’s jump right into it and summarize what we’ve heard.
Image source: Recode
Facebook’s Clear History will function similarly to a your browser’s “clear cookies” or “clear browsing history” feature. You’ll be able to limit and clear information about you that Facebook gets from external sources. You’ll also be able to turn off data collection for Facebook and all the sites that do it through Facebook.
Image source: Facebook
Facebook is finally implementing Google Hangouts! Of course, they wouldn’t put it that way, but this new feature does the same thing as Hangouts – it lets you watch live video and chat with a group of friends.
Upvotes and downvotes
Image source: The Next Web
No, we still won’t get the dislike button, but we’ll be able to upvote or downvote certain comments in order to reward useful content or “punish” misleading one. You already know this from Quora, Youtube and other forums.
Facebook is making its Groups more central to the whole FB experience. They will add a new Group tab to their app which will allow you to find relevant groups easier. Groups will also be able to watch videos together via Watch Party, which will have a Live Commentating option. This will allow moderators to also become commentators, which is pretty neat.
Image source: Techcrunch
Dating will surely be the most controversial addition to Facebook. Zuckerberg say it is meant to encourage meaningful relationships between Facebook’s 200 million single users.
Dating will be an optional feature and it will be separated from users’ main profile. It will have its own messaging feature (text only), it won’t connect you to your friends and your friends won’t be able to see your dating profile (which will be much richer than a Tinder one).
Dating will only use the user’s first name and it will allow users to see certain events and message the attendees once they RSVP. Other features are yet to be revealed.
Crisis Response seems like an expansion of the Safety Check feature. In addition, of letting others know you’re safe, now you’ll also be able to provide a firsthand account of emergency events.
Image source: Techcrunch
Instagram will redesign its Explore section and sort the content around topics, which should allow users to find relevant content faster. It will also change the selection process of the displayed content. Beside A.I., community curation will play a big role in what content appears on your screen, which should make the Explore tab more personalized.
Image source: Techcrunch
Instagram will get its own “Watch Party”, which will allow user to have one-on-one or group video chats. Video Chat will also allow you to chat and browse Instagram at the same time.
Another welcome addition by Instagram. The bully filter will use machine learning to remove inappropriate and threatening comments. Together with last year’s obscenity filter addition, it will make sure that Instagram becomes a friendlier place.
AR Camera Effects Platform
Instagram users will have the option to create and use augmented reality filters and features. This feature will be different than it is on Facebook, as you’ll have to follow the person that created the filter in order to use it. It will be interesting to see how many filter developers will become new IG celebrities because of this rule. However, if you see your friend using a filter you like, Instagram will allow you to try it out.
Group Video Calling
After millions of requests, WhatsApp will finally allow you to have a group video call! It’s great to hear this feature is on its way.
Another popular request is being fulfilled. You’ll soon be able to liven up your conversations with stickers and if you are a developer you’ll also be able to create your own sticker packs.
Zuckerberg confirmed that they are currently working on WhatsApp Enterprise with large businesses. You can learn more about enterprise businesses using WhatsApp Enterprise here.
Image source: VentureBeat
M Translations will allow you to translate conversations in real time! This is an exciting announcement and it brings us a step closer to the sci-fi translators we know from the movies. At launch, M Translations will only translate English and Spanish, but more languages will be rolled out during the year.
Customer Chat Plugin
This plugin allows companies to run Messenger on their homepage. It enables Facebook users to start a conversation with businesses inside the Messenger directly from their website.
Simplified platform (and dark mode?)
Messenger admitted their platform had become messy and will change it later this year. The goal is to make it cleaner and more streamlined.
Nothing was said about Messenger’s dark mode, but it was showed in a video, so we’re guessing it might launch pretty soon.
Companies will be able to create augmented reality filters and experiences for messenger. Soon you’ll be able to try out certain products without visiting the store.
That’s all regarding social media and messaging apps we’ve heard during the keynote address. There was also an announcement of the new Oculus GO VR headset launch and some other VR features. It was an exciting presentation and it showed us once again how quickly certain technologies are evolving. We definitely live in very interesting times.