Facebook F8 Developer Conference Day 1: Highlights and Key Notes

Geronimo Vena
Aprile 20, 2017

Speaking at the developers event in San Jose, California, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook's new Camera Effects Platform, which is created to giving developers the power to build AR tools. But what Facebook has in store is bigger than that - at least that's what it seems like from the announcement made at the F8 conference on Tuesday.

Facebook executives took to the stage yesterday at the company's annual F8 developers' conference to discuss a number of new initiatives.

You may groan, but say what you like about Facebook, it is easy to use.

Ignoring Snapchat's place in history, Zuckerberg declared: "We're going to make the camera the first mainstream augmented-reality platform". That's why he has announced a push into Augmented Reality (AR) and Facebook may soon start experimenting on a mix of real and digital worlds, just like the hit smartphone game.

Actively engaging in augmented reality instead of passively experiencing it could slow down mainstream adoption, although that may not be a hard hurdle to overcome.

Citing the smartphone as a basic but ubiquitous platform for building augmented reality experiences, Zuckerberg said that "We used to think glasses were the way that augmented reality would work". Facebook added special effects cameras to its core apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. "But we've seen a primitive use case of augmented reality where the phones are the device for this".

Over the last couple of years, Facebook has been closely working with Oculus, its augmented reality unit.

Do you want to live in Facebook's AR world? Augmented reality involves the project of computer-generated images into real-world surroundings. The Camera Effects platform is created to be compatible with future augmented reality hardware, such as eyeglasses but in the meantime the effects will be available inside Facebook's Camera feature on smartphones.

In a simple example, a Facebook user will be able leave a virtual sticky note on the menu board at a fast food restaurant that's viewable by his or her friends (through their smartphones). The company is touting Developer Circles as a community-driven program, and will offer a platform for users to share ideas, collaborate, build and learn about new technologies from Facebook and others in the industry.

He said that Facebook was trying to create yet another parallel universe of apps and tools that did not rely on the smart phones' own marketplaces. Competitor Snapchat, which Facebook has been copying on various fronts in recent months, also is putting the camera front and center, and has been developing ever-more-complex filters for its users.

Messenger will also let people involve businesses in their group chats. He's also looking to app developers to make online messaging more intuitive. For now, we look forward to day 2 when Facebook is likely to touch upon its hardware and Internet connectivity efforts.

Facebook also added a Discover tab to its Messenger home screen where users can find categories of chat bots, recently used bots, trending bots and a search field.

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