Everything announced at Facebook’s F8 conference

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Everything announced at Facebook’s F8 conference

At Day 1 of Facebook’s F8 developer conference, Mark Zuckerberg laid out the company’s 10 year roadmap and made tons of new announcements such as the new chatbots and a crazy new VR camera.

On Day 2, the keynote speakers dove into updates from the React Native platform, demoed a VR selfie stick, introduced two connectivity projects and more.

From the Live API to chatbots to the new VR camera, here’s everything you need to know from F8 2016.


Facebook launches Messenger platform with chatbots

In what may be the biggest announcement of the day, Facebook revealed that it will now allow businesses to deliver automated customer support, e-commerce guidance, content and interactive experiences through Messenger chatbots. These bots could even replace 1-800 numbers and call centers.



Facebook unveils the “Surround 360” open source VR camera

We already knew that Facebook is diving into 360-degree video and VR content with Oculus. But now the company has created its own VR camera from scratch, open sourcing it so people can build their own. Unlike most rigs, the 17-lens 3D VR camera looks like a UFO on a stick and barely requires post-production work due to lens genlocking. It’s designed to be portable, durable with aluminum casing and can produce 4K, 6K and even 8K footage. Damn.



Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp combined see 3x more messages than SMS

Zuckerberg shared some interesting metrics about the growth of Messenger and WhatsApp. Specifically, Messenger and WhatsApp see 60 billion messages sent daily versus 20 billion for SMS. Messenger has grown to 900 million users, up from 700 million at last year’s conference.


Account Kit, push and quote sharing

Facebook is releasing new developer tools to help people build, grow and monetize their apps. Account Kit is a new plug-in for apps that lets users sign up with their phone number or email address. Facebook also introduced a plug-in for web and mobile sites that creates a special type of News Feed story highlighting quotes, and new customizable push/in-app notifications will let developers run push campaigns.


Facebook Live opens to developers

Facebook is releasing an API for developers who want to plug into Facebook Live, and it also announced the first partners — including Livestream (maker of the Mevo camera), BuzzFeed, Vidpresso and drone-maker DJI. Facebook Live could really take live video to a new level of popularity.



Facebook releases Bot Engine to create much smarter bots

Messenger is all about bots now. The Send and Receive API lets you create bots for Messenger to search for things and interact with businesses. But what if you want to use machine learning and create more complex scenarios? Bot Engine is Facebook’s more powerful bot framework, based on Wit.ai’s work. So, if developers embrace the framework, Messenger users are going to get a variety of small specialized bots.


Instant Articles is now open to all publishers

Until now, Instant Articles were only available to a few publishers. Starting today, all publishers can take advantage of the fast-loading and mostly distraction-free view that Instant Articles offer.


Facebook lets users record Facebook profile videos in third-party apps

Facebook launched the Facebook Profile Expression Kit, which gives third-party developers a way to publish videos recorded on their apps as profile pictures on Facebook. Details are a little sparse, but the company has a few partners already that are working with the service, including Instagram, Cinemagraph Pro and MSQRD. Boomerang by Instagram, Vine, lollicam and BeautyPlus are also included in the list.


Facebook starts allowing “Sponsored Messages” ads

How does Facebook plan to make money on the Messenger chatbot platform? By charging businesses to send re-engagement messages to people who’ve already voluntarily started a conversation with them.


Facebook launches video Rights Manager to combat freebooting

Facebook has a stolen videos problem. A new admin tool for Pages lets them upload video clips they don’t want others using. Facebook then monitors for copies of these videos to be posted to Facebook, and can then either automatically report them as violations to be deleted, or notify the original publisher.


Facebook Alive

What does it all mean? Read Josh Constine’s thought piece on the point of F8


React Native gets backing from Microsoft and Samsung

Both Microsoft and Samsung have committed to bringing React Native to Windows 10 and Tizen, respectively.

This means developers will now be able to use React Native to write apps for the Windows laptops, tablets and phones, as well as Samsung devices that run on Tizen, including some of its smartwatches and TVs.


Oculus demos a VR selfie stick

Oculus wants to let you go anywhere in the world instantly. With a VR selfie stick, you’ll be able to take a photo of your avatar and a friend’s in front of Big Ben or other world landmarks. Once you have a photo you like, you can push it into a virtual Facebook mailbox to post it to the social network. Who says VR can’t be social?


Facebook’s Terragraph and ARIES antennas bring Internet to underserved areas

Facebook announced two new connectivity projects: Terragraph and Project ARIES, both of which focus on using terrestrial antennas to exploit different wireless techniques to cover both urban and rural areas.

Terragraph equips lightpoles and other “street furniture” with antennas to blanket cities in WiFi, and ARIES packs tons of antennas into a big array to beam connectivity into the distance.


Facebook will soon be able to automatically tag your friends in videos

Facebook is making big strides in using its AI systems for image recognition, but it’s also working on bringing this technology to video. As the company demoed at its F8 developer conference in San Francisco today, it has a team working on automatically tagging people in videos.