Facebook F8 is an annual conference for developers creating products and services for the world’s biggest social network. For the rest of us, it is a sneak peek of the cool new things we can expect to see from Facebook in the upcoming year. This year’s conference included a number of notable announcements that made one thing clear: Facebook is evolving from a single app into a family of apps with a wide array of uses.
Here are a few of the key learnings from Facebook F8 2015:
Facebook Messenger as a platform
The biggest news from Facebook F8 is that the company is migrating its Messenger instant messaging service into a standalone platform. Facebook is encouraging developers to create small apps (there are more than 40 already) that become part of Messenger’s everyday functionality. These apps are intended to enhance your core conversations, with things like GIFs, photos, videos, and audio clips seamlessly added into the mix. And you won’t need to update manually through external app store – Messenger apps will spread virally with an install option popping up whenever a friend sends you a message using a particular example.
Facebook Messenger for business
Another element of the new Facebook Messenger is its new features for businesses. For example, when you purchase something from a website, you’ll be able to opt to receive real-time shipping updates and order details through Messenger. You’ll even have the ability to modify orders directly from within the Messenger app. Plus, you’ll also be able to ask businesses questions directly through the Messenger app, which will be welcome news to those of us who dislike getting caught in the endless maze of an automated phone system.
Embedded Facebook videos
Facebook announced at F8 that, like YouTube, users will now be able to embed Facebook videos in other websites. This will eliminate the need to put links leading away to Facebook videos onto web pages and blogs – you can simply insert the video into the web page itself. That’s good news for Facebook’s video numbers (because more people will play the content) and for the websites that will retain more users as a result. Similar to Google, all you need to do is copy and paste the provided embed code into your website’s CMS, and the video will magically appear.
Facebook will also support spherical (3D) videos on the Newsfeed page. You will be able to post a 360 degree video that users can pan around with their cursor, creating a virtual reality experience.
Parse and the Internet of Things
As expected, Facebook also spoke more about Parse, the mobile development platform it acquired a few years back. The big focus was on building apps for the Internet of Things (IoT). With the new Parse SDKs (software development kits), it’s now easier for developers to make apps that connect Facebook with garage door openers, smart batteries, thermostats, security cameras, and more smart home tech.
In all, Facebook announced during F8 “more than 25 products and tools to help developers build, grow, and monetize mobile apps.” We are excited to hear about the latest enhancements coming to Facebook, and how they will help you better connect with your customers through social media.
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