The F8 Developer Conference is over: Here’s everything Facebook announced
Facebook rolled out several features for its platform, Instagram and Messenger during the conference and gave a deep dive into all the ways it is using AI.
Facebook hosted its annual F8 Conference for developers this week, with Mark Zuckerberg taking the stage on the first day. The CEO readdressed how important privacy issues are to the company, before making a joke about having to appear before Congress and announcing a number of new releases for Facebook’s multiple platforms.
The second day kicked off with Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer going in-depth on all the ways Facebook is using AI. He also announced the latest launch of Facebook’s Pytorch 1.0 framework and updates to ONNX, an open AI platform that is a collaboration between Facebook and a number of other companies including Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, IBM and Intel.
Here’s the full list of announcements made by Facebook during the two-day conference:
Facebook will be rolling out a clear history tool that will allow users to clear their browsing history on the platform. Zuckerberg called it the kind of control his company believes users should have, but only after noting that it may diminish a user’s Facebook experience.
Watch Party is a video tool that lets multiple users watch the same video simultaneously while being able to comment. Only a small group of beta users has access to the tool right now, but Facebook has plans to expand the availability of Watch Party in the future.
Groups tab and Join Group button
Facebook is launching a new Groups tab to make Groups “more central” to the Facebook experience and will be rolling out a “Join Group” button that developers can include on websites, in emails and other places outside of Facebook.
Users will soon be able to opt in to a dating profile that will connect them to non-friends who have also opted-in to be on the dating platform hosted by Facebook. Matches will be made based on similarities in users’ profiles.
Instagram will be getting a design upgrade, with the Explorer section organized around content channels. The app is also getting video chat for one-to-one and group conversations, as well as AR camera effects.
Messenger will also be getting a design refresh to be “cleaner and faster,” along with AR camera effects and “M suggestions” — a translation tool that helps Marketplace buyers and sellers communicate across languages. Facebook will also be launching branded AR experiences for advertisers, which are currently in closed beta with a small number of brands including Kia, Nike and Sephora.
WhatsApp, Facebook’s messaging platform, will get AR camera effects and a group video calling feature. Mark Zuckerberg also took the time to thank WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum, who announced he was leaving the company on April 30. Zuckerberg said he was deeply grateful for Koum’s work.
Facebook Analytics is a mobile app that will offer businesses anonymously aggregated “Journey” analytics that give insight into omnichannel data and reporting. Features will include auto-detected funnels to identify paths that lead to conversions, audience insights and funnel conversion insights.
In-app purchases come to Instant Games
On the first day of the conference, Facebook announced that in-app purchases (IAP) are now available on its Instant Games platform for Android and Facebook.com. The submission process officially opens May 7, but developers can access open documentation around the process for implementing IAP before submitting.
Developer app reviews now open
After halting app reviews in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica crisis, Facebook reopened app reviews for Instant Games and Messenger apps on April 18. At the start of the conference, Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook has reopened reviews for all apps, with several updates to the app review process.
Facebook login updates
New updates to Facebook’s login rules for apps were announced to further Facebook’s attempts at protecting user privacy. The updates included more restrictions on accessibility to user data, token expiration management, a personal data deletion callback URL and business integration clarifications.
Facebook Workplaces integrations
Facebook announced several new third-party integrations for Workplaces, Facebook’s work management platform, including HubSpot, Marketo, Adobe, ADP, PayChex and SurveyMonkey.
New AR Studio updates
Facebook launched a new version of its AR Studio, a tool used to create augmented reality experiences on the platform. The latest version integrates Sketchfab’s searchable library of AR models.
Facebook Business SDK
Facebook announced it was replacing its Facebook Ads SDK (software development kit) with the new Business SDK, a “one-stop shop” where developers can access a number of Facebook APIs, including Business Manager API, Marketing API, Pages API and Instagram API.
Facebook announced it was shipping its Oculus Go VR headset on the first day of the conference. The headset comes with more than 1,000 apps already installed and is priced at $199, but F8 attendees were gifted a free Oculus Go.
Developer Circles 2018 Community Challenge
Facebook kicked off its 2018 Community Challenge hackathon for its Developer Circles communities on the second day of the conference. Tasked with creating a solution that uses at least one of Facebook’s developer products, participants are competing to win $30,000 in prizes.
This year marked Facebook’s 11th F8 Conference, an event focused on its developer base that was first hosted in 2007 in San Francisco. The 2018 F8 event included more than 50 sessions and attracted upward of 5,000 developers.
Since the Cambridge Analytica crisis, it’s been a difficult month for Facebook’s app developer community as the company has been forced to reconsider its app policies. In addition to completely halting the app review process, Facebook has greatly limited the amount of user data available to app developers and rolled out a tool that lets users remove apps in bulk.