Social Media Updates – April Part 1

By: Kelly Hutchinson

Facebook held its annual developer conference, F8, this Tuesday, April 18, so this social media update will focus on the announcements made at that conference. To view the videos of the keynotes and sessions from that conference, click here.

Facebook F8 2017 – Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Messenger

At Facebook’s F8 2017 conference, Mark Zuckerberg began his keynote by saying, “You may have noticed that we rolled out some cameras across our apps recently, that was act one. Photos and videos are becoming more central to how we share than text, so the camera needs to be more central than the text box in all of our apps.” Zuckerberg goes on to say that act two is “tied to a broader trend – augmented reality.”

Facebook announced several features and developments around augmented and virtual reality at the developer conference. In regard to augmented reality (AR), Facebook plans on incorporating games and photo filters through the Facebook app via the camera lens on smart phones. “We’re making the camera the first augmented reality platform,” said Zuckerberg.

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Facebook AR camera filters, TechCrunch

Facebook’s camera filter AR features will have a lot of options for users to choose from, much more than competitor Snapchat, and has been rolled out in closed beta this week. Eventually, these AR features will include virtual art you can lay over a space, or video games you can play on top of any surface through your phone.

In virtual reality (VR), Facebook announced Facebook Spaces, an app that lets you spend time with your Facebook friends in social VR. This app allows you to build a world or space and virtually hang out with friends (as cartoon-like avatars) by using gear produced by Facebook-owned, Oculus.

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Facebook Spaces, Business Insider

Facebook Messenger is also getting some new features through chat extensions, which started rolling out this week. These new extensions allow users to share music via Spotify and Apple Music (coming soon), as well as play games, all within the Messenger app. These extensions can also use bot technology to target and assist consumers chatting about a potential experience or purchase. For example, if a group is chatting about going to dinner, the bot can pull up OpenTable for reservations. In another example, if users are chatting about going to a movie, a bot can provide show times and purchase tickets for the users, all within the chat.

FbookF8_Messenger

Messenger Extensions, The Verge

This ties into another chat extension Facebook is building up – M, Facebook’s mobile AI assistant (like Siri on iOS devices), which will allow businesses to utilize automation to manage customer interactions in the Messenger app. For consumers, a new feature called M Suggest will provide recommendations to topics discussed in a chat, such as restaurant choices.

Facebook also announced some advanced research and developments in the works, such as the ability to type messages directly from your mind and the ability to hear through your skin. Read more about the above announcements and developments here.

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