Facebook’s F8 conference is currently underway in San Jose, California. This is the 10th edition of the social media giant’s developer gathering. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke today to defend the many privacy implications that have arisen over the past year and to show that privacy is now a top priority for the company.
Also read: Facebook Messenger Problems and Solutions
During his speech, Zuckerberg outlined Facebook’s vision to create a privacy-focused messaging and social networking platform. He joked that Facebook might not have the best reputation when it comes to privacy, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying to improve the social experience for users.
The resounding message everyone, including Mark, seemed to be delivering during the keynote address was that “the future is private” and that Facebook is going to create a privacy-focused social platform that people want. Messaging apps will be the foundation of this new vision, as revealed on stage. Now let’s take a look at the 5 key announcements of the F8 2019, starting with Messenger.
5 key takeaways from Facebook’s F8 2019 conference
1. Messenger at the forefront
Since Messenger will lead Facebook’s privacy-focused plan, the company appears to have returned to the drawing board and built its messaging app to be lighter and faster than before. Codenamed LightSpeed, the new messaging app (available later this year) is less than 30MB and loads in about 1.2 seconds after a cold boot.
Another important addition is the arrival of Messenger on the desktop. Yes we saw today Facebook announce the official Messenger desktop app for Mac and Windows users. It’s one of the most requested features by users, Zuckerberg said during the keynote address. It will be deployed next fall.
Facebook is also bringing a new “Friends” tab to Messenger which will only show you private updates from friends, whether they are Facebook or Instagram stories. You can set emoji status, call and message your friends on Instagram and WhatsApp (which matches rumors that Facebook is looking to integrate and make its messaging app interoperable) from this dedicated space.
Finally, Messenger adds a Watch Together feature that allows users to extend the video calling experience. You will soon be able to discover and watch videos with friends within the Messenger app, which is great for teens and long distance couples.
2. Minor updates to WhatsApp
WhatsApp has always been a big believer in privacy. So Facebook didn’t have much to talk about here except for the introduction of product catalogs in WhatsApp Business. The company will now be able to privately show you all available products and operate without even having a website in place.
Zuckerberg also spoke briefly about WhatsApp Payments, which is based on India’s UPI payment system, is being tested with one million users in India. Facebook plans to roll out the payments feature to new locations in the coming months.
3. Facebook redesign
Facebook places more importance on groups and puts them first, and Zuckerberg on stage said the platform is undergoing a major transformation to reflect the same.
The social media giant now aims to make ” central friends communities ” and your “Groups” tab at the top, both on the completely redesigned and completely white app and website, will reinforce that idea. The new design was dubbed FB5 and is “Simpler, faster, more immersive” than the company’s previous efforts.
Zuckerberg was greeted with cheerful appeals and words when he revealed that the new redesigned app will be immediately available to US and Canadian users, with a global rollout slated for later this semester.
“THIS IS THE BIGGEST CHANGE TO THE FACEBOOK APP AND WEBSITE IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS,” ZUCKERBERG SAYS.
With the new Groups tab, Facebook makes it easier for users to discover new groups and communities based on their interests. They will see content from relevant groups in other sections of the platform, such as the Marketplace and Games tabs. Facebook also wants to allow users to “meet new friends” from shared communities such as a school, a workplace or a city. Meet New Friends is currently on trial in selected locations and will roll out later this year.
4. Instagram enhancements
Instagram’s camera gets a much-needed upgrade, where you no longer need to start with a photo or video to post stories. You will soon see a new “Create” tab in the camera interface and you will be able to choose from the following options: question, query, text or other sticker.
Instagram Shopping is on the rise and the F8 2019 conference reinforces it with the introduction of a dedicated section on the store in the Explore tab and the ability to make purchases directly from your favorite creator’s page. Instead of screengrabbing and searching online, you’ll soon be able to tap a creator’s photo to view the product and checkout from the app.
5. Oculus Quest
Facebook today announced the launch of its highly anticipated VR headset, “Oculus Quest,” at the F8 2019 Developer Conference. It is the company’s first all-in-one VR gaming system, as we calls it, and you can now actually move around in virtual space after putting on a Quest headset.
We also saw the company unveil the Oculus Rift S , which is an upgrade to its connected VR headset that must be connected to a powerful game board in order to function. The Oculus Rift S brings with it a higher resolution display, improved optics and mixed reality experience via the front camera and a feature called Passthrough +.
The Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S will sell for the same price, $ 399, and are now available for pre-order. Delivery of these new helmets will begin on May 21.
So that’s pretty much all of the major announcements from Facebook’s 2019 F8 speech. What feature or hardware upgrade are you most excited for? Is this a redesign of the Facebook app and desktop or the new Friends tab in Messenger? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.