As Mark said, the future is private. The new goal is to build new products and features for a privacy focused social platform. My question is, before today, the platform wasn’t already based in a privacy focused mentality?
On 30th April 2019, more than 5,000 developers, creators and entrepreneurs from around the world came together for F8, Facebook’s annual conference about the future of technology.
Mark Zuckerberg opened the two-day event with a keynote on how they’re building a more privacy-focused social platform — giving people spaces where they can express themselves freely and feel connected to the people and communities that matter most. He shared how this is a fundamental shift in how Facebook is building products and run the company.
Mark then turned it over to leaders from Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and AR/VR to share more announcements. Here are the highlights:
Better Ways to Connect with Close Friends
Close connections are built on messaging, which is why Facebook is making it easier for you to find the content from the people you care about the most. In Messenger, they are introducing a dedicated space where you can discover Stories and messages with your closest friends and family. You’ll also be able to share snippets from your own day and can choose exactly who sees what you post. This will roll out later this year.
A Desktop App for Messenger
People want to seamlessly message from any device, and sometimes they just want a little more space to share and connect with the people they care about most. So today Facebook is announcing a Messenger Desktop app.
You can download the app on your desktop — both Windows and MacOS — and have group video calls, collaborate on projects or multi-task while chatting in Messenger. They are testing this now and will roll it out globally later this year.
A Faster, Lighter App
People expect their messaging apps to be fast and reliable. Facebook is excited to announce that we’re re-building the architecture of Messenger from the ground up to be faster and lighter than ever before. This completely re-engineered Messenger will begin to roll out later this year.
A Way to Watch Together
When you’re not together with friends or family in your physical living room, Messenger will now let you discover and watch videos from Facebook together in real time. You’ll be able to seamlessly share a video from the Facebook app on Messenger and invite others to watch together while messaging or on a video chat. This could be your favorite show, a funny clip or even home videos. Facebook is testing this now and will begin to roll it out globally later this year.
Helping Businesses Connect with Customers
Facebook is making it even easier for businesses to connect with potential customers by adding lead generation templates to Ads Manager. There, businesses can easily create an ad that drives people to a simple Q&A in Messenger to learn more about their customers. And to make it easier to book an appointment with businesses like car dealerships, stylists or cleaning services, we’ve created an appointment experience so people can book appointments within a Messenger conversation.
People and businesses are finding WhatsApp a great way to connect. In the months ahead people will be able to see a business catalog right within WhatsApp when chatting with a business. With catalogs, businesses can showcase their goods so people can easily discover them.
People have always come to Facebook to connect with friends and family, but over time it’s become more than that – it’s also a place to connect with people who share your interests and passions. Today Facebook is making changes that put Groups at the center of Facebook and sharing new ways Facebook can help bring people together offline.
A Fresh Design
Facebook is rolling out FB5, a fresh new design for Facebook that’s simpler, faster, more immersive and puts your communities at the center. Overall, they’ve made it easier to find what you’re looking for and get to your most-used features.
People will start seeing some of these updates in the Facebook app right away, and the new desktop site will come in the next few months.
Putting Groups First
This redesign makes it easy for people to go from public spaces to more private ones, like Groups. There are tens of millions of active groups on Facebook. When people find the right one, it often becomes the most meaningful part of how they use Facebook.
Today, more than 400 million people on Facebook belong to a group that they find meaningful. That’s why they’re introducing new tools that will make it easier for you to discover and engage with groups of people who share your interests:
- Redesigned Groups tab to make discovery easier: They’ve completely redesigned the Groups tab and made discovery even better. The tab now shows a personalized feed of activity across all your groups. And the new discovery tool with improved recommendations lets you quickly find groups you might be interested in.
- Making it easier to participate in Groups: They’re also making it easier to get relevant group recommendations elsewhere in the app like in Marketplace, Today In, the Gaming tab, and Facebook Watch. You may see more content from your groups in News Feed. And, you will be able to share content directly to your groups from News Feed, the same way you do with friends and family.
- New features to support specific communities: Different communities have different needs, so they’re introducing new features for different types of groups. Through new Health Support groups, members can post questions and share information without their name appearing on a post. Job groups will have a new template for employers to post openings, and easier ways for job seekers to message the employer and apply directly through Facebook. Gaming groups will get a new chat feature so members can create threads for different topics within the group. And because they know people use Facebook Live to sell things in Buy and Sell groups, they’re exploring ways to let buyers easily ask questions and place orders without leaving the live broadcast.
Connecting with Your Secret Crush
On Facebook Dating, you can opt in to discover potential matches within your own Facebook communities: events, groups, friends of friends and more. It’s currently available in Colombia, Thailand, Canada, Argentina, and Mexico — and today, they’re expanding to 14 new countries: Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana, and Suriname.
They’re also announcing a new feature called Secret Crush.
People have told them that they believe there is an opportunity to explore potential romantic relationships within their own extended circle of friends. So now, if you choose to use Secret Crush, you can select up to nine of your Facebook friends who you want to express interest in.
If your crush has opted into Facebook Dating, they will get a notification saying that someone has a crush on them. If your crush adds you to their Secret Crush list, it’s a match! If your crush isn’t on Dating, doesn’t create a Secret Crush list, or doesn’t put you on their list, no one will know that you’ve entered a friend’s name.
A Way to Meet New Friends
They’ve created Meet New Friends to help people start friendships with new people from their shared communities like a school, workplace or city. It’s opt-in, so you will only see other people that are open to meeting new friends, and vice versa.
They’ve started testing Meet New Friends in a few places, and it will roll out wider soon. They will also be integrating Facebook Groups, making it possible to meet new friends from your most meaningful communities on Facebook.
Shipping on Marketplace
People will soon be able to ship Marketplace items anywhere in the continental US and pay for their purchases directly on Facebook. For sellers this means reaching more buyers and getting paid securely, and for buyers this means shopping more items — near or far.
A New Events Tab
This summer they’re introducing the new Events tab so you can see what’s happening around you, get recommendations, discover local businesses, and coordinate with friends to make plans to get together.
They rolled out new ways to connect people with each other and their interests on Instagram.
The Ability to Shop from Creators
Starting next week, you can shop inspiring looks from the creators you love without leaving Instagram. Instead of taking a screenshot or asking for product details in comments or Direct, you can simply tap to see exactly what your favorite creators are wearing and buy it on the spot. Anyone in our global community will be able to shop from creators. They’ll begin testing this with a small group of creators next week, with plans to expand access over time. For more information on shopping from creators, click here.
A Way to Fundraise for Causes
Starting today, you can raise money for a nonprofit you care about directly on Instagram. Through a donation sticker in Stories, you can create a fundraiser and mobilize your community around a cause you care about — with 100% of the money raised on Instagram going to the nonprofit you’re supporting. This will be available in the US now and they’re working to bring it to more countries. To learn more, check out the Instagram Help Center here.
A New and Improved Camera
In the coming weeks, they’re introducing a new camera design including Create Mode, which gives you an easy way to share without a photo or video. This new camera will make it easier to use popular creative tools like effects and interactive stickers, so you can express yourself more freely.
They’re building technology around how we naturally interact with people. They announced a number of new ways they’re helping people connect more deeply in video calls through Portal. They shared more on our work to bring AR experiences to more people and platforms, and they opened pre-orders for Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S.
Portal Expands Internationally this Fall
Beginning with an initial expansion from the US to Canada, they’ll also offer the Portal and Portal+ in Europe this fall. They’re bringing WhatsApp to Portal — and they’ll be bringing end-to-end encryption to all calls. You’ll be able to call any of your friends who use WhatsApp — or Messenger — on their Portal, or on their phone.
Beyond Video Calling
This summer they are adding new ways to connect on Portal. You’ll be able to say, “Hey Portal, Good Morning” to get updates on birthdays, events and more. They’re also adding the ability to send private video messages from Portal to your loved ones.
And, through our collaboration with Amazon, we’re adding more visual features and Alexa skills to Portal, including Flash Briefings, smart home control and the Amazon Prime Video app later this year. You’ll also be able to use Facebook Live on Portal, so you can share special moments, with your closest friends, in real time.
SuperFrame to Display Your Favorite Photos
Portal’s SuperFrame lets you display your favorite photos when you’re not on a call. You can already add photos to SuperFrame from your Facebook feed, and starting today, you’ll be able to add your favorites from Instagram as well. And the new mobile app will let you add photos to Portal’s Superframe directly from your camera roll, later this summer.
Spark AR Expands to More People
Since last F8, they’ve seen over one billion people use AR experiences powered by Spark AR, with hundreds of millions using AR each month across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and Portal.
Starting today, the new Spark AR Studio supports both Windows and Mac and includes new features and functionality for creation and collaboration. They’re also opening Instagram to the entire Spark AR creator and developer ecosystem this summer.
Oculus Quest and Rift S Pre-Orders Open
The two newest virtual reality headsets — Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S — ship May 21. Oculus Quest, the first all-in-one VR gaming system, lets you pick up and play almost anywhere without being tethered to a PC. For those with a gaming PC, Rift S gets you into the most immersive content that VR has to offer. Both start at $399 USD and you can pre-order today at oculus.com.
They’re also launching the new Oculus for Business later this year. They’re adding Oculus Quest to the program and will provide a suite of tools designed to help companies reshape the way they do business through VR.
With each feature and product announced today, Facebook wants to help people discover their communities, deepen their connections, find new opportunities and simply have fun. They’re excited to see all the ways developers, creators and entrepreneurs use these tools as they continue to build more private ways for people to communicate.
For more details on today’s news, see the Developer Blog, Engineering Blog, Oculus Blog, Messenger Blog, and Instagram Press Center. You can also watch all F8 keynotes on the Facebook for Developers Page.