The biggest takeaways from Facebook's F8 conference

Biggest news from Facebook Developer Conference: F8

For many years, Facebook has faced countless suggestions that its popularity won’t last much longer. But, so far at least, Mark Zuckerberg’s social media site has remained a constant in people’s lives.

Even today, Facebook is the most used social media network, with an estimated 1.15 billion mobile active users every day and five new profiles created every second.

It is, perhaps, not surprising then that Zuckerberg has followed in the footsteps of Apple and Google in hosting an annual conference: Facebook Developer Conference: F8.

As the Guardian explains, this event was originally a way for the CEO of Facebook to speak to developers but now, just like the site itself, the conference has grown into a platform for the world to hear about the newest upcoming changes to Facebook.

With this year’s conference having finished in San Jose, here are some of the biggest takeaways:

Facebook is betting big on augmented reality

The main message from this year’s F8 conference is that Facebook wants users to utilise its camera for so much more than just snapping pictures. Facebook is going to work on augmented features for its camera platform. This could include adding pace and time that has been superimposed onto a photo of your run.

Yes, it seems very much like Facebook is following in the footsteps on Snapchat. Perhaps this is because teenagers are more likely to use the image messaging app over Zuckerberg’s social media site – a study by SCG found that 88% of Generation Z members use Snapchat compared to 81% on Facebook.

Unfortunately for Zuckerberg, Snapchat announced its own AR functionality a mere six hours before Facebook Developer Conference: F8 started.

Facebook will continue working on VR

Facebook bought Oculus back in 2013 and it seems the company is keen to make VR a common feature in our everyday lives.

As well as announcing a new coding framework for VR, React VR, that will be built on Facebook’s React platform, Facebook unveiled plans for Facebook Spaces – a VR chatroom where users will be able to hang out with their friends.

While it is similar to Bigscreen, an app on Oculus, it will tie in to Facebook, making it easier for users to integrate with their existing friendship groups. In an effort to open it up to users who can’t afford the expensive VR equipment, smartphone users will also be able to participate through a flat video call.

Messenger taking inspiration from WeChat

Messenger is Facebook’s second biggest product and is now its own separate app. During Facebook Developer Conference: F8, the company revealed a whole host of new features for Messenger, many of which take inspiration from the Chinese messaging app WeChat.

As well as allowing one-on-one conversations, WeChat enables users to pay bills, book plane tickets and follow celebrities.

It doesn’t look like Messenger will be going to quite that level yet, but Facebook is determined to make its app more embedded in the daily lives of its users.

This will include things such as new discovery features, a new form of QR code that users can scan at events to connect with brands, and turn-by-turn multiplayer games and bots that will play when friends aren’t available.

One of the biggest moves for Messenger is that Apple Music and Spotify are creating an extension so users can browse their music library within the app to send songs to their friends.

With these new visions, Facebook seems determined to remain a part of our everyday lives.

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