6 most significant things Facebook announced at F8 2017, TechRadar

6 most important things Facebook announced at F8 2017, TechRadar

TechRadar

6 most significant things Facebook announced at F8 2017

Facebook’s annual developer conference is underway, and while we didn’t get major announcements in the way of an Oculus Rift two virtual reality headset, the social network still swung for the fences with fresh products and updates to its existing services.

Here’s a look at the six most significant things Facebook announced during its F8 two thousand seventeen Day one keynote!

1. Facebook Spaces

By far the fattest actual product Facebook announced is the launch of Facebook Spaces, its very first social virtual reality suggesting.

Spaces is essentially a way to drape out with friends in virtual reality. A digital avatar that represents yourself can pal around with friends and family in VR talk rooms. These rooms can be anything from outer space to a locale you’re visiting via 360-degree movie.

One of the neatest features of Facebook Spaces is that you can bring in friends who aren’t in VR using Facebook Messenger movie talk. Facebook also lets you create 3D shapes that you can stir around in VR, which is pretty damn neat.

Users of Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch can begin exploring Facebook Spaces today through the early access section in the Oculus Store.

Two. Facebook camera as an AR platform

The running theme of the F8 two thousand seventeen keynote was augmented reality and Facebook’s mission to make it the next big platform. Not only that, but Facebook has identified the means through which to make that happen.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that while he used to view glasses as the future of AR, he’s since switched his perspective. Now, he wants to "make the camera the very first mainstream augmented reality platform." Yes, the camera in your phone or other wise device.

To that end, Facebook is launching a number of AR instruments for the camera in a closed beta today, collectively called the Camera Effects Platform.

Frames Studio is the very first product within the platform, and it’s an online creative editor that lets developers make frames for pictures of for any pic taken with the Facebook camera. Frames Studio is available globally right now.

Then there’s AR Studio, a instrument set to help content creators make their own masks, filters, animated frames, and effects, such as a custom-built celebration overlay for the Manchester United football team. The idea is to make it as painless as possible for developers to create AR effects that react to the environment, movement and interactions in Live movies, and make those available to users. AR Studio is out now in beta.

If all of this sounds like Snapchat to you, you’re right on the money. Facebook is clearly attempting to play catch-up to the filter and mask-happy platform, and Zuckerberg even admitted Facebook is late to the AR game.

While these features are relatively novel right now, Zuckerberg noted we’re more likely to share photos when they are joy/funny, so this is a brainy play to get users posting more content onto the social network, effects and all. It also lays the ground work for more advanced functions down the road, and it’s clear Facebook isn’t done developing on the AR front yet.

Three. Say hello to Facebook Messenger Platform Two.0

Over 1.Two billion people using Facebook Messenger every month, so of course the talk platform got slew of play on the F8 stage.

Facebook is launching Facebook Messenger Platform Two.0, infusing its system with even more artificial intelligence to connect users with more businesses and, on the roll side, help businesses connect with more users.

Among the additions are a fresh Detect tab to help users find relevant businesses, such as ones in their area. This is rolling out leisurely to people in the US embarking today.

Parametric codes are also coming, permitting for one bot to tap into numerous codes (not just QR) through the Messenger camera.

Then there’s Talk Extensions, which permit for more than "single player and one-to-one talks." Extensions permit for numerous people to talk with the same business at the same time. This also permits for sharing of content from a bot with one talk group, such as songs through Spotify and Apple Music.

Gameplay in Messenger is also getting a boost through game bots and "Rich Gameplay," which is essentially turn-by-turn games. You can also tap the fresh Games tab in the Messenger home screen to challenge your friends. This tab is making it to a few select folks in the US commencing today.

Four. M digital assistant gets much smarter

Facebook’s M digital assistant also got a few fresh features as part of the Messenger revamp.

These include making suggestions in your conversations, such as a sticker that reads "thank you," a reminder of an upcoming meeting, or nudging you that you need to pay so-and-so back.

M taps into artificial intelligence to recognize people and tasks in your conversations, Facebook says, helping it make wise recommendations based on context. Of course, since 98% of every conversation revolves around food, this includes helping you make a meal order via delivery.com.

Five. Better business bots

The initial response to bots was a tepid one, but it seems they’ve since gained momentum, with over two billion conversations taking place inbetween users and businesses in Messenger in one month, Facebook says.

Facebook is providing bots even more oomph today, including introducing clever replies that permit Pages to reaction the most frequently asked questions using the Wit.ai bot.

Businesses can also create numerous parametric QR codes for a single bot, again letting customers use a number of codes through the camera to accomplish a single task, such as paying at a restaurant.

Eventually, Facebook is now letting businesses to create more than one bot with different developers. So, a business may want to create a individual shopping bot with one developer, then another bot that treats customer service queries with another. Now, businesses are empowered to do this, utilizing numerous bots created by the most suitable developer to better serve customers.

6. Wireless virtual reality headset taunt

Alright, Facebook didn’t announce anything related to its wireless virtual reality headset, but it sure gave us a few good looks during the Day one keynote and taunted how the headset, which again lacks a PC tether, works.

Originally exposed at the Oculus Connect three conference in October 2016, the prototype, called Santa Cruz, was seen in act via movie.

Yes, this was the same clip also shown at OC3, but it shows Facebook hasn’t forgotten about the wireless headset. It emerges to be progressing nicely, a good sign for wireless VR hopefuls.

What’s more, thanks to Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer, we learned the headset relies on computer vision to cut the cord. Using a mechanism called Simultaneous Localization and Mapping, or Ram, the headset’s four built-in cameras can detect how the environment around you switches and mirrors movement in the virtual world. No phone, no PC required. It’s all in the headset, which lets you budge around loosely with no nauseating effects.

How long till we see Santa Cruz in live act, and even more importantly, how long until its on sale? We can’t imagine it will be much longer, tho’ an unveiling at Oculus Connect four (presumably in October 2017) and holiday release seem the most plausible.

Zuckerberg also said Facebook is working on fresh VR input methods, including palms free. He slipped on some Oculus gloves a few months ago, so while we’ll likely see those mitts before long, it sounds like Facebook is already looking beyond manual controls.

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