Facebook held its now annual F8 conference where they get to announce new feature updates to its ecosystem as well as meet developers of its platform and show them new features they could use to build apps for the ecosystem.
They usually hold the F8 conference in April, but this time round, it was held on the first day of May and Facebook didn’t skimp on surprises. Here are some of the new features on their current apps as well as totally new apps that Facebook announced on day 1 of the F8 conference.
It is no surprise that Facebook’s muse has been Snapchat and this continues to be the case with some of the features they are working on their ecosystem.
WhatsApp will get group video calling and stickers in the coming months. This will further augment the current video calling and Status Update features WhatsApp users have been enjoying for some time now.
Facebook will now allow brands to integrate AR camera effects on their experience. Facebook aims for a scenario where developers create experiences where people are able to customize or try on merchandize or walk through new products, which sounds rather cool and futuristic.
Instagram is getting video chat hence joining the rest of the Facebook ecosystem to offer this feature. Video chat will be available in Instagram Direct. They are also redesigning Explore again where the new one will organize content into ‘relevant topic channels’ so that you can browse according to your interests. Both video chat and the new Explore are currently being tested and will be rolling out globally.
Instagram will also get the same AR camera effects like Messenger where developers can create AR based camera experiences for the Instagram audience.
Good old Facebook is also getting a number of updates to its feature set as well as new ones.
First is the new Clear History. This feature will allow you to see the apps and websites that send Facebook information when you use them and will give you the ability to delete this information from your account. Facebook says it will take months to build this feature where they will work with privacy advocates, regulators, policymakers and academics to get their input on the approach, so expect this in the distant future.
The next feature is Sharing to Stories where you can share content from your favourite apps to both Facebook and Instagram Stories. For example you can share what you are listening in an app like Spotify to share what you are listening. facebook says you don’t have to connect your Facebook or Instagram Stories for this to work.
Facebook also introduced another update to Groups with the new Groups tab which will help you navigate your favourite groups easily. Later on, they have said that with this new feature, you will be able to join or discover new groups.
However, the most unexpected announcement is the fact that Facebook is building a Dating feature right within the Facebook app. This is an industry that has been dominated by the likes of Tinder and now Facebook wants in and is leveraging on its huge user base.
People will be able to create a dating profile that is separate from their Facebook profile and you will be served with potential matches based on common preferences and mutual friends. You will be able to discover other people with similar interests through Events or Groups. As a privacy feature, whatver you do within the dating feature will not be shown to your friends.