Facebook‘s largest annual event, Facebook Developer Conference or Facebook F8 2019 went by. And this year, they had quite a lot of announcements to make. To sum it all up, Facebook is changing – for better, or worse! Some changes might be welcome, while some…we’ll take some time getting used to. So, here are some of the announcements that matter in the event.
“The Future is Private” or is it?
For a company that people, these days, look upon with distrust, this is a bold announcement to make. From the Cambridge Analytica scandal to other frequent allegations related to privacy, the company is not really doing well in the privacy department. But, Mark Zuckerberg seems to know all about it. He claimed that things were going to change.
Facebook will be making major changes in its policies. The social media platform will, apparently, now be more privacy-focused and secure service. It will highlight 6 major components – private interactions, encryption, reduced permanence, safety, interoperability, and secure data storage. The company is also going lengths to provide end to end encryption to Messenger’s, Instagram’s and WhatsApp’s video and audio calls. However, this version of Facebook won’t roll out soon…could take almost a year.
Facebook gets a make-over
This might be a mixed bag of emotions for some. The Facebook we’ve come to use and, maybe love, will soon be no more. It’s getting a massive redesign – both in the desktop browser version and the mobile app. It will be a more “cleaner” design, with the layout having a more white look. But it will have a dark mode too.
The “cleaner” look means not only the color but your News Feed will take a hit, too. The new Facebook, or, FB5, will emphasize more on Groups and Events and less on the News Feed. This is supposed to help people expand their social circles. I, for one, don’t really like this approach (not a social butterfly), but some might like it, though.
Messenger at Lightspeed!
For a messaging app, Facebook’s messenger seems a bit too, heavy, doesn’t it? And you’ll notice it more so when you’re maybe playing a heavy game, and a message pops up. Then, your phone will become somewhat unresponsive for a second. It’s not the same for all phones, but many struggle. And so, the company is taking steps to re-build the messenger app entirely, so that it’s size is reduced to less than 30 MB! This means the app will open and run faster.
Also, a standalone desktop Messenger app is in the works. So, if you don’t want to open Facebook on your browser every time you want to check your messages, this is good news. But you can also use the Opera Browser, with messenger built in! (Just saying!)
Another addition to the messenger app is that you can also directly interact with your “Close Friends”. This feature will be there, both on Messenger and Instagram, but it’s not yet clear how it’ll work exactly. But the idea is similar to that we have on Instagram, share your status messages and such in a more private and tighter friend circle.
Instagram Camera Redesign and new Mode
Instagram stories are one of the most used features of the app. But Instagram’s own camera is not as good as your real one. Granted, it won’t ever be…but the company’s trying to improve the camera on it so that you can improve the quality of your stories and posts.
Also, the camera redesign means the filters and camera modes appear in a wheel, making it easier to navigate and look for. There will also be dedicated buttons for broadcasting and such. In addition, there’ll be a new Create Mode which will allow users to create posts without adding images or videos to it.
Furthermore, they’re adding Shopping Tags feature which enables influencers to add tags related to various products on their posts. And people can click on the tags to directly buy the products if they like it. This feature is only open to influencers like artists, athletes, creators, publishers, and other public figures.
Facebook Dating enhanced
Facebook’s online dating feature – Facebook Dating, introduced last year, is seeing some upgrades. Now, it has a feature called “Secret Crush“, which allows you to create a secret list of friends you have a crush on. And if your crush thinks the same of you, and has you on their list, you’ll match! So, dating is more within your circle now…
Unfortunately, this is not available everywhere. This feature is now extended to 14 more countries, bringing the total to 19. It’s a shame this feature is not available here… I sure could use it!
Besides these, there were a lot of other announcements made at the event.
In summary, Facebook is also trying to compete with Amazon – by improving its marketplace. It will be adding buying and shipping features allowing users to purchase goods directly from Facebook. But that feature is only in the U.S. right now.
Facebook’s online video calling through smart displays service, Portal, has been available in the U.S. since launch. And now, it will also be available internationally. The Smart Displays will also support WhatsApp calling with end-to-end encryption as well.
In addition, Facebook also launched two new products – two new VR headsets – Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S. These headsets will both go for sale starting May 21, will ship to 22 different countries for some $400 each!
Apart from all these, Facebook is also improving it’s AI and machine learning to recognize Hate Speech and effectively filter them out. It’s a nice step from the company to minimize online bullying and shaming. Furthermore, Facebook is also training it’s AI to recognize images of things – i.e. it might soon be able to tell if you’re selling marijuana or vegetables using its services. The only problem with that is it might also be able to recognize you almost instantly. So much for privacy, right?
So, that was all the major stuff the social media giant announced at this year’s Facebook F8 2019. Yes, Facebook is changing, for better or worse. While some features mentioned above might not make it to our country just yet, it will soon be there. What do you think about these? Do let us know.