Facebook’s F8 developer’s conference happens to be the event that serves to provide us with a sneak peek of what to expect out of the social media company in the year ahead. And the company didn’t disappoint either, announcing several important aspects that are all set to be the central theme of their operations henceforth.
And if there is one aspect that can be considered to be at the core of all the changes the social media giant is expected to imbibe in the days to come, it’s going to be privacy. That again is something that the company perhaps lacks the most at the moment given the slew of scandals it has faced during the last few years.
Its quest to become the preferred ad destination is only driving them to have a better insight of its users, which includes their likes and preferences and so on. And of course, things often take an ugly turn getting the info Facebook needs to allow for its targeted ad campaign.
Nonetheless, while the company did confess to privacy being their weakest link along with the commitment to improve on the same as well, here is a brief snippet of everything else the company had to share on Day 1 proceedings of its conference.
Facebook app: The company’s flagship app is set for a major revamp, which applies to both the mobile and desktop versions. Even the logo is set for a change as well, in that it will have a circular design this time instead of the square logo seen so far. There will also be less of blue all around, the one color Facebook had associated itself with for long.
The company also announced they are going to be redesigned to have groups and communities at the center, instead of the generalized news feed that is highlighted right now. Making new friends should be easier too, as is finding events nearby. It’s the Android and iOS apps that are set to be revamped first before the desktop version ushers in the change later this year.
Messenger: The app is being made slim and trim to make it launch faster – in less than 2 seconds – besides also making it less heavy on the memory. This apart, there is going to be a new feature that will allow users to watch videos on Messenger in real time, together with friends. Users will also be able to share videos from Facebook to Messenger while friends will also have the option to engage in live chat while watching the videos. Then there is going to be a desktop version of the app that will be available on Windows and MacOS later this year.
Instagram: The popular image and video sharing site will not be highlighting like and share counts. The company said this is being done to allow people to focus more on the content rather than the competitive aspect – read like and share – of it. The camera too is being revamped to now include a Create Mode which the company said will not only make it easier to share photos and videos but will also enable it to add features like quizzes and such.
Shopping on Instagram has also got on a new meaning as well as buyers will now be able to buy the looks their influencers are sporting. Celebrities, artists or anyone identified as influencers will be able to include shop-able tags on the items they have put on, with the users getting to buy them right away. The influencers won’t have any percentage of the sale proceeding though. This should make shopping via Instagram easier as users so far only got to buy stuff from the brands only.
Then there also is the new away mode that is going to be integrated into Instagram. The company said this happens to be an anti-bullying feature that the company introduced and which users can initiate when they feel vulnerable, like say when switching schools or going through a break-up and such.
WhatsApp: The messenger app will henceforth have algorithm-based Status updates, with updates from friends that the users tend to contact more often given precedence over others. A global payment system will also be unveiled soon and will be named WhatsApp Pay. For business users, those who have a smaller scale of operations and lack a website of their own will have product catalogues displayed for users to have a better idea of what the business has to offer.
Facebook Dating: The company announced its dating service is all set to be launched in 14 new countries. Users will be able to create a profile using their first name and will be seen only by those who have also similarly set up a Dating profile. However, there is a new feature announced this time – Secret Crush – wherein users will be able to shortlist friends they are interested in. Those shortlisted will get a message someone has a crush on you’ And if both shortlists each other, they will get to know they have a mutual crush.
Facebook said the service will be launched in the US later this year but will become live in the following countries right away: Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana and Suriname. It is already available in Colombia, Thailand, Canada, Argentina and Mexico.
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Oculus VR headsets: Facebook announced the launch of two new headsets – Oculus Quest and Rift S for launch on May 21. Both are priced the same, $399 though Rift S has a model with higher storage and will cost $499. Both differ in their operations too, with Oculus Quest being designed to work on its own and has a wireless mode of operation while Rift S will need to tether to a PC to allow for a powerful gaming experience.