Facebook’s F8 conference brought to light multiple announcements from Mark Zuckerberg himself, and they were quite interesting given the circumstances the company has been in recently.
It takes a unicorn to turn a controversy like Cambridge Analytica into such a buzz with a conference like this.
For those who may not have the time to watch the whole thing, here are some of the major takeaways from this presentation.
Facebook Dating Service
Perhaps the unicorn announcement throughout the entire thing was the addition of a dating feature for Facebook, wherein users can volunteer to add a dating profile that’s not visible to friends who have done the same.
It will then match users based on data collected from activities within Facebook and this dating system and provide a dedicated inbox within it instead of cobbling those messages with the rest of Messenger.
As continuing Facebook’s vision of driving “meaningful connections,” a dating service may seem apropos. That does mean the service will not be for finding short-term encounters. It will indeed put Facebook up in direct competition with Tinder, OKCupid, and other online dating services out there.
Facebook F8: Zuckerberg's dating service takes on Tinder pic.twitter.com/HtEvAxVBMR
— Larry Kim (@larrykim) May 2, 2018
While there are still concerns regarding how Facebook will handle privacy in this service, investors are loving it. The share price of Tinder’s parent company Match Group fell by 22 percent soon after this announcement.
Messenger Chatbot Embargo Lifted
The chatbot embargo was abruptly imposed over a month ago to the detriment of businesses that make use of Messenger to interact with their customers.
Marketers can now connect their MobileMonkey Facebook Messenger applications to their Facebook pages, and you’ll be pleased to know that everything works as intended.
After all the trouble regarding data privacy and security with the whole Cambridge Analytica debacle, Facebook is now coming out with a new privacy feature called Clear History.
This upcoming feature will allow Facebook users to delete data that has been accumulated from sites and apps using its ads and analytics tool. That lets you delete your browsing history from Facebook’s data store, which Zuckerberg has compared to deleting cookies on your web browser.
While it does potentially make the Facebook user experience less personalized down the line, users being able to maintain their data privacy may be worth the trade-off.
This is especially welcome after Zuckerberg’s grilling in front of the US Congress regarding how little control Facebook users have over their own data on the site.
Instagram Video Chat and Anti-Bullying
Instagram is going to have a video chat feature, which adds to the Instagram Direct inbox feature. This turns Instagram into more than just an app where people can post their selfies and stories every so often.
Meanwhile, there will also be a new comment filter implemented for protecting users from cyber-bullying, which is quite rampant in the service. There will also be improvements to the Explore tab, letting users see more recommendations they may actually like.
By making Instagram more feature-packed like this, Facebook is looking to knock Snapchat down a peg or two more well after having launched Stories on both Instagram and Facebook.
Facebook is Reopening Its App Review Process
In a move that is basically a complete reversal, Facebook will once again implement stringent reviews on apps getting into the social media platform.
Facebook can’t afford having another app like “thisisyourdigitallife” harvesting user data without consent all over again. While they’re not preventing app developers from being able to deliver great user experiences through the site, Facebook is certainly trying to be a lot more careful this time.
Oculus Go Now on Sale for $199
Bringing virtual reality to the masses, Facebook has released Oculus Go for sale. The $199 version has 32GB of on-board storage, while the $249 provides 64GB of it.
Instead of going for the Samsung Gear VR approach by having something that you have to stick a smartphone into, Facebook is offering a more tailor-made experience for an affordable price with Oculus Go.
Another thing Facebook is churning out from its Oculus division is their own virtual reality television. VR is the future of media consumption, and Facebook is heading the charge with Oculus TV.
While it only has Facebook Watch at the moment, services like Netflix and Hulu are expected to be made available on Oculus TV in the near future.
Messenger with Translation
Having language support is good but having active translation in chat is even better. Facebook Messenger is aiming to bridge language gaps by adding translation features in Messenger.
Facebook started the translation train going with English-Spanish conversations in the Marketplace within the U.S. The direction being taken here is obvious—another way Facebook is aiming to create more meaningful connections.
On the other hand, Facebook is also taking out the camera and games tab in Messenger for a cleaner look and feel. Messenger has become bloated and bogged down with too many features over time, so perhaps this is apropos.
VR Memories and 3D Photos
Adding more to the impending VR madness, Facebook is adding VR memories and 3D photos to its repertoire in a bit to continue leading the way in content delivery. What may be novelty now may become the mainstream trend of tomorrow, and Facebook is counting on that with these two new features.
WhatsApp Status Hits 450 Million Users
As if Facebook can’t do enough to pound on Snapchat, WhatsApp Status—the app’s own version of Snapchat Snaps—has hit 450 million active users daily. That’s double Snapchat’s whole userbase, making this milestone a really big deal, especially with Snapchat’s recent downer of an earnings call.
Aside from that, WhatsApp has just received stickers and group video calling. With Snapchat apparently having turned a blind eye on the international market, WhatsApp pounced on the opportunity and the move has been paying off significantly.
Sharing to Facebook and Instagram Stories from Other Apps
Aiming to boost the accessibility and convenience of posting Stories, Facebook has now enabled sharing to Facebook and Instagram Stories from various apps like Spotify, SoundCloud, and GoPro.
Whether it’s sharing your vacation adventures as they happen or a song that hits your mood just right, you can do it easily right from those apps and not have to go the long way around to post them as Stories. This is a boon for travel blogging, music discovery, and many other avenues.
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