F8: Facebook Developer Conference

By Robert Brown

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A group of people entering the Facebook conference in San Jose, California

Yesterday saw the first day of F8, where 4,000 people joined Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook leaders in San Jose, California. The conference offers two days of interactive demos, announcements and best practices, helping us to build communities through technology. The day featured sessions on Camera, Messenger, Engineering and Open Source, Virtual Reality, Media and Publishers and much more. 

Of course not everyone could be there, and for those who could not, there was a whole host of meet ups all over the world as well as the option to watch it online. For those who were still unable to catch it however, here is JUMP's roundup of the highlights so far.

Camera Effects Platform

Mark Zuckerberg opened up his keynote by talking about the mixing of the digital and physical world

Mark Zuckerberg opened up his keynote by talking about the mixing of the digital and physical world. The Camera Effects Platform offers the first mainstream version of augmented reality, allowing artists and developers to create tools for the camera app. This includes a range of photo frames, interactive effects and more. The platform offers two new creative tools in particular: 

Frame Studio is a creative editor in which you can design frames for either profile pictures or the new camera itself.

AR Studio can be used to create masks, scripted effects, animated frames and other technologies associated with movement, the environment and Live videos. 

After Facebook and Instagram's recent additions of ‘Stories’ to their apps however, many will be wondering if this is just another Snapchat-like feature. Zuckerberg addresses this in the keynote.

Messenger

A Facebook employee discussing changes to Messenger

The statistics were 1.2 billion people, 100,000 developers, 100,000 monthly active bots and 2 billion messages sent between businesses and people. It’s hardly surprising therefore that Facebook have focused their efforts on more tools and features for Messenger. So what is it offering?

Discover tab – people will be able to find Bots from the home screen in Messenger

Chat extensions – allowing multiple people to chat with the same business at the same time by adding them directly into group threads and conversations

AI assistant – the AI assistant, M, now offers the ability to order food through delivery.com whilst on Messenger. If you and your friends are talking about going out for food, it will suggest that you place an order as well as giving you the option to order and pay within Messenger

Gameplay – see next point for more information

Smart replies – these will help Pages respond to the most frequently asked questions within businesses, such as opening and closing times, directions and contact details

Hand-over Protocol – businesses can work with multiple developers and collaborate to bring different experiences on Messenger

Games

Lastly, they have released several new updates to help developers build their games across mobile, desktop and video platforms.

Instant Games - this is a new HTML5 cross-platform gaming experience that exists without having to install an app. Facebook will let developers create games that are accessible via the Facebook News Feed and Messenger. Users will be able to share and discover new games in a multitude of ways from a recommendation to a post someone has uploaded. Being able to play cross-platform could really push a new target to use Messenger. 

Gamesroom Platform - the new desktop gaming platform with over 1,000 games. It gives developers the opportunity to bring their games onto an emerging platform and port games that are built in a variety of engines. Alongside this, Facebook is rolling out a new feed for games-related content only which will surely be exciting for die-hard gamers.

Games tab and game bots - this will make it easier for people to discover games. Addditionally, game developers will be able to use game bots to allow players to take actions in their games directly via Messenger chat, whether they are playing or chatting to a friend. This is currently in closed-beta which means we may need to wait a little longer for this.

This is only a very small part of what F8 has showcased in their first day, but it is already evident that they are pushing the boundaries in order to stay one step ahead of competitors and to continue to engage the masses. You can watch the full thing for yourself by going to the F8 website or read about more of the products and features on the Facebook newsroom. With so much on offer yesterday, we can’t wait to see what the second day has in store. 

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