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Facebook has unveiled a host of new features at its 2017 F8 developer conference, most focused on the curation of its global community. Attendees were introduced to not only Facebook’s push into augmented reality, but also the next phase of its Messenger platform, bot support within Workplace, a new virtual reality experience, and more.
If you missed the keynote, never fear — we have you covered at VentureBeat. Here’s everything Facebook announced at the conference:
In his opening keynote, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced the closed beta of a new platform centered around augmented reality. Called the camera effects platform, it’ll enabled developers to build and create effects and masks around the Facebook camera, taking its competition against Snapchat to another level.
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Doubling down on augmented reality, Facebook revealed that it was working on developing games around the technology later this year. Such games will help define whole new genres, Zuckerberg claimed. The tech depends on the ongoing revolution in computer vision, artificial intelligence, and a number of other technologies. Zuckerberg said that AR is a tech that can make both digital and physical reality better.
As for Facebook’s traditional platform, the company introduced a program which establishes local support groups worldwide for developers to interact and learn from one another. Additionally, the company revealed updates to Facebook Analytics, Login, Account Kit, and launched its Place Graph API, giving developers access to location data for 140 million places.
Facebook’s Slack competitor is growing up, with new file-sharing and document management tools, third-party partnerships, and is now opening up its groups and work chat feature to curated bot developers.
After giving developers the tools to build on top of the Messenger platform, Facebook turns its attention towards discovery, so users can find brands and bots more easily. It also launched chat extensions, which lets third-party apps more natively be integrated into conversations.
While Facebook’s M artificial assistant has become available to the masses through Suggested Responses in Messenger, the company revealed it has begun a pilot program to see what the experience would be like if third-party service was integrated. The first partner to trial this is Delivery.com.
Facebook has provided updates on its progress with its major gaming initiatives: Instant Games, Gameroom, and Gaming Video. That’s all part of its vision to become the place where people play, watch, and share games.
Facebook has hit a new milestone that indicates just how large its community of gamers has become: 800 million monthly active users. That number includes the people who play games on Facebook, but it also includes those who are merely logged in to Facebook while playing games on other platforms, such as smartphones.
Facebook has open sourced Caffe2, a framework for deep learning. Deep learning generally involves training artificial neural networks on lots of data, like photos, and then getting them to make inferences about new data.
More than a year after beginning to support chatbots, Facebook Messenger has more than 100,000 on its platform, up from the 33,000 in September.
With the bot, Spotify will now automatically offer playlist recommendations based on factors such as mood, activity, and genres directly in Facebook Messenger conversations.
Apple will be introducing an Apple Music chat extension to Facebook Messenger, making it possible for people to bring the music streaming app into conversations with friends and family members and share music.
The NBA’s Golden State Warriors launched a Facebook Messenger bot to act as a personal playoff assistant to fans. The bot helps you cheer on the team, trash talk to friends and coworkers, and follow along as the Warriors seek to reach the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year.
Money transfer company Western Union launched a Facebook Messenger bot today that allows people within the United States to transfer money to more than 200 countries around the world.
Yahoo has launched its Captain bot on Facebook Messenger, becoming one of the first third-party programs to integrate with Messenger’s chat extensions. Now you can track what needs to be done within your group conversations.
Giphy has launched three more products aimed at making it easier to use GIFs in more ways: in creative camera effects, in live video, and more natively in Messenger as a chat extension.
Bot maker Octane.ai will now allow bot creators to generate Facebook Messenger parametric codes to guide a user to their bot and customize the consumer’s experience.
Bots can now be shared in a single chat thread or broadcast to groups of people, but Facebook Messenger bots in groups cannot talk to you, crack jokes, or be conversational in any way you might think bots can.
Facebook has introduced two new Surround 360 cameras targeted toward professional filmmakers and content producers. The x24 and x6 are successors to the one the company debuted at last year’s F8 developer conference, but with a major upgrade: It shoots in 6 degrees of freedom (6DoF). This is significant because when the results are viewed in virtual reality, you will be able to move around in ways similar to the offline world instead of seeing a flatter universe.
Facebook introduced the latest technology for expanding internet access. It’s a little helicopter with a power line and a fiber optic cable that will be able to drop in and quickly provide a connection. Obviously this isn’t the sort of thing Facebook would deploy in droves, but it could be helpful after an internet-killing hurricane or some other natural disaster.
Facebook is working on technology that enables people to hear and interact with devices without using their voice. This is one of the first revelations of the work being done by the company’s secretive unit Building 8 which is run by Regina Dugan.
Facebook has introduced the 360 Capture SDK that lets developers integrate VR capture technology into their game titles, as long as it’s processed through Unreal or Unity game engines.