Facebook announces new updates and a 10-year plan at the annual F8 conference

Students share thoughts on Zuckerberg's latest announcements

Cheyanne Gonzales, General Manager Emeritus

On April 12, at Facebook’s annual F8 conference, Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder and CEO of the company, announced a 10-year plan, as well as many other updates within the company.

Facebook’s F8 conference, hosted every year in San Francisco, is aimed at other developers. But, it’s also when the company announces new updates, previews of services and different features that users all over the world will see in months to come.

There are 10 major updates, but the most talked about is the company’s launching of the new bot platform for the Messenger app. They announced tools so developers can build bots inside app.

What is a bot? It’s a software application that is automated to do different jobs over the Internet. For example, the way the Internet quickly files, analyzes and fetches information from different servers across the web is done by bots. Facebook thinks the Messenger can grow to be the main communication between businesses and consumers.

The new tool includes an API (Application Program Interference), which gives developers the opportunity to build chat bots for the app and chat widgets for the web. Also, the new bot platform is open to different media. In Zuckerberg’s demonstration during the announcement, he shows companies like CNN and 1-800-flowers.com Inc. using bots.

CNN uses the bots to communicate news stories and information customized to each user. Zuckerberg, showed ordering flowers through the 1-800-flowers bot.

“You never have to call 1-800-flowers again,” Zuckerberg said. With the new bot platform, users will soon be able to order an Uber, online shop and send money all via Messenger App.

Senior Government and Politics major Connor Shea had a few things to say about Facebook’s new bot platform.

“So I’m really only peripherally aware of this stuff, but from what I’ve read the bots seem like a great idea to integrate into messaging apps, but I’m unsure if a lot of the things they announced would really take off” Shea said. “Online advertising already seems kind of saturated and I’m not sure companies reaching directly out to customers would play out.”

However, other students have a different opinion on the new platform.

Andrea Hoheb, a sophomore Public Relations major, said, “It seems even more convenient however it would make more sense if Facebook just made a separate tab for it so you have news feed, messenger, profile, the bot program and requests.”

Added Hoheb, “It’s a great idea overall, but separating messenger from the bot program will make it easier to organize and manage it all.”

Jasmine Isaac a junior in the Physician Assistant program also has a different view on Facebook’s big announcement.

“I honestly feel as though something’s are just going too far, not sure if that makes it any easier for tech geniuses and cyber wizzes to steal your information. Not really sure how I feel about that with the money spending aspect,’ Isaac said. “Maybe I’m not getting the whole picture, but I’m not sure if it’s something we really need. To me it may just be another way to get sucked into social media and less attached to the outside environment. I myself try to stay off of FB [Facebook] and other social media as much as I can although it can be addicting just to keep myself grounded and focused on other tasks at hand such as my studying and just overall focusing on my personal relationships with people.”

According to Zuckerberg, Facebook’s Messenger app was the fastest growing platform of 2015 and globally is the second most popular app on iOS behind the Facebook app, with 900 million monthly users. Facebook and Whatsapp together produce 60 billion messages a day, which is three times the global volume of SMS messages.

At the conference, Facebook also introduced a “Save to Facebook” button on the web. It allows publishers to add the button to their article templates. When the user taps the button it will save the article or video to their Facebook queue. Facebook added this new feature since the older save feature, which was launched 4 years ago, received over 250 million users every month.

The social network company also launched a new login tool called Accounts for developers where they can sign users up with only their phone number. Different apps that enable login with “Accounts” will ask for the user’s phone number.

Once a user’s phone number is entered, Facebook will send a confirmation code. Upon entering the code, users are immediately logged on, with no password necessary. “People tell us that they hate passwords,” says Eddie O’Neil, a product manager at Facebook.

Facebook has teamed up with Amazon to launch a quote-sharing tool into its Kindle e-reader. Instead of copying and pasting, users can highlight text and a pop-up that has the Facebook logo and says, “Share quote” will come up. Users will then be able to share it to Facebook. It will also add a URL with the quote once shared. Publishers can also add the “share quote” onto their web pages and apps.

At the beginning of the month, the social network company launched Facebook Live, which allows users to stream live on Facebook. It will let any camera stream to Facebook Live. Mark Zuckerberg used a DJI drone as an example at the conference of the live-streaming feature.

The Mevo, Livestream’s first consumer camera, is the first camera that works with Facebook Live.

Facebook announced that it will let Vine and other apps shoot video profile pictures. Last year, the company began letting users use seven-second video as a profile picture. Now, apps like Vine will soon have a button that allows users to send the captured video directly to Facebook.

“Trying take market share of video sharing from Snapchat seems tough, even if the VR component does seem pretty cool and definitely novel,” said Shea.

The social network company built a state of the art 360 camera, the Surround 360, the shape of a flying saucer, the 17-camera array and web-based software captures images in 360 degrees. It has 14 wide-angle cameras, one fisheye camera on top and two on bottom.

Zuckerberg said that the company will release the complex software and the camera’s hardware designs for free this summer on GitHub.

Mark Zuckerberg said now, and over the next 10 years, the company is working on “a whole new set of social experiences” with virtual reality platforms. He announced the Oculus Rift, which allows two people to play together in virtual reality, showing the devices that are used for it, headsets and controls.

Zuckerberg showed that the company is working on augmented reality glasses, which look like normal eyeglasses. The AR glasses are “what we’re trying to get to,” according to him.

“Virtual reality has the potential to be the most social platform, because you actually feel like you’re right there with another person,” he said.

Within the next 10 years, Zuckerberg sees virtual reality and augmented reality merging together to become apart of everyday life.