F8 is a conference that is held mostly-annually. The conference is targeted at developers who build around the website, and entrepreneurs who execute services on the website. F8 was formerly an 8-hour hackathon where developers and programmers interact on a diversity of projects and that is where the name F8 came from. This year’s F8 which held between April 30th and May 1st was hosted in San Jose, CA in Silicon Valley.

The traditional layout of the event comprises; a keynote speech from the founder –Mark Zuckerberg, an introduction of new features to the Facebook family of apps, breakout sessions, exhibition of the latest technology, and announcements.

The founder began with his keynote and described the theme of this conference as “The future is private”. The keynote concentrated “on building a privacy-focused social platform”. Before now, Facebook had been under the spotlight for supposedly intruding on the privacy of its users hence the introduction of new features to help curb that ideology and help users connect better.

During the keynote, updates to Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook’s core service were announced. We also got more news about the Oculus Quest and Rift S Virtual Reality headsets. Facebook assured that based on some modifications, private interaction, encryption, reduced permanence, safety, interoperability, and secure data storage, the services will be delivered better. Details of the announcements are:

  • Messenger

Messenger will have end to end encryption to support the privacy vision. It will also have a second tab that is dedicated to just close friends and family, and the feeds will be personalized. A link of close friends can be created across Messenger, Facebook and Instagram. Users will also be able to watch videos within messenger together with their close network of friends. The aim of the organization is to make messenger the fastest private communication app. It is also proposed to function, requiring less battery and less storage.

  • WhatsApp

WhatsApp is introducing a business product catalogue. On this catalogue, pictures and videos of business materials will be featured.

  • Facebook

Facebook will have a new design called FB5. It will adopt a simpler and fresher display; it is already available on the mobile app and will be coming on desktop in a few months. It also has the dark mode, to enable protection for the eyes. It has the ability to save the spot of the feed which was last viewed on the homepage such that when activity is resumed on that page, users can pick up from where they left off.  There were several other modifications on Facebook. Such as:

  • Group Tab has been modified to serve the purpose of suggesting groups of interest to users.
  • Health Support Communities has a feature that lets users ask admins to post on their behalf, of course anonymously.
  • Profession-wise, Job groups will posses a template that will grant them access to apply for jobs through Facebook when employers post openings.
  • Gaming Groups will get a chat feature so users can interact.
  • It will also engage E- Commerce, Buyers will be able to check out items for sale and can pay for the item while still remaining on the site.
  • Facebook Dating will also be launched. There will be a dating profile in which likes and interests will be on. This is different from the main profile. Activities on the dating profile are only visible to those who have opted in for Facebook dating.
  • Secret Crush lets you create a private list of friends that you might be interested in and it notifies that there is a match if users appear on each other’s crush list.
  • Meet New Friends helps users find more connection with people who are in shared communities such as schools, institutions and work place. In general, it is making connection easier.
  • Facebook Icon will also be updated. To a livelier version.
  • Instagram

Instagram camera will be redesigned, it will be simpler to use and will possess a create mode feature which will allow a variety of content shared, other than videos and pictures. There will be Private Like Accounts – this is for the reason of disengaging online bullying through number of likes. Users can see liked pictures but cannot see the number of likes except they asked for it.  These are still being experimented.

The company wants to lead the movement against online bullying. If there is an aggressive comment about to be put out, Instagram will “nudge”. There is also the Away Mode that lets the user opt out of Instagram when in a sensitive moment such as going through a divorce, breakup, grieving of a loved one etc.

  • VR: Oculus Rift S and Oculus quest.

Oculus Rift S which also part of Facebook Technologies is an improvement on the original headset which has better optics and better tracking than the previous model. Oculus Quest is an all in one headset which does not possess cables and makes it easy for mobility. This is made possible by Oculus’ tracker. Both headsets will be shipped within a month and they are available for pre order.

To support the next age of computing, Spark AR studio was proposed which is going to be supported on pc and mac. Portal is also going to be launched internationally.

The announcements of these changes were met with warm welcome and participants looked forward to the experience.

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