The annual Facebook Conference for developers and entrepreneurs who build services around the platform is here again and we are all excited with somewhat great expectations. Facebook no doubt has a huge influence on the way we connect with people around the world. Not only do we use Facebook’s range of apps and features to keep in touch with our loved ones (Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp), there are about 8 billion businesses to people messages sent per month and that definitely now has its influence on how we do businesses.
In fact, when Mark Zuckerberg talked about Bots and Businesses, you could see a screengrab of United Bank for Africa’s (UBA) Chatbot Leo. For those who might not know Leo, it’s the first artificial chatbot in the Nigerian Banking sector that makes everyday banking transactions easier. You can chat with Leo to have the Chatbot Send Money, Topup, Check your UBA balance and lots more. That’s a testament to how Facebook is affecting businesses.
One thing Mr. Zuckerberg kept talking about was the fact that Facebook, despite what they might have faced recently, should be reckoned with as a good force meant to bring people together rather than something otherwise.
In an effort to make this point a reality, a line of updates and new features where announced all through the Facebook App sphere ranging from Facebook App, Instagram, Messenger, Oculus (Virtual Reality), WhatsApp and lots more. Here are the updates you are to expect in various apps.
If you’ve been in the VR sphere for some time, Oculus Rift wouldn’t come in as a new term. For those who might not have heard of it, Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset developed and released in the first quarter of 2016 by Facebook Inc. to serve the VR market. One problem though with this headset was that it had to be connected to a computer, unlike the Google Cardboards where you could easily place in your mobile phone and have that great VR experience.
This year, Facebook has introduced the Oculus Go, which is now a Standalone VR headset just like most other VR headset out there. It would support a wide range of media for an immersive VR experience such as Oculus TV for Netflix and Hulu streams to the headset, Oculus Rooms to play Board games with friends and lots more. The price for this device is said to be $199.
Facebook Dating (FaceDate)
Yeah, we are sort of going to see a tinder-ish dating feature introduced to the platform. You’ll be able to connect the Facebook Dating feature with Facebook Events and find matches at parties. According to Zuckerberg, this Facebook for Dating feature isn’t here for “just hookups”, but for long-term relationships.
Some third-party apps have been integrated into the platform and yes, lots more would soon. Some of the integrations include being able to share what you are currently listening to on Spotify and also being able to directly upload footage from your GoPro app into the platform. Other updates on Instagram that were mentioned include Camera Effects and AR features in the app. Instagram would definitely get more interesting.
Though the updates on WhatsApp might not seem to be as major as other platforms, it wasn’t left out. We now have support for group video calls on WhatsApp. We are also to see Stickers come through on this platform.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication they say, and in a bid to prove this as true, Facebook decided to give the Messenger App a revamp in other to make things quite cleaner and faster. Some other features include a New Customer Chat plug-In which obviously would let businesses integrate Messenger into their websites. This was necessary at this time, as there are over 8 billion messages sent between businesses and people every month according to Mark.
Not Forgetting Privacy
It’s no news that we are all worried as to how Facebook handles our data after the major controversy they faced recently. A couple of knots were tightened as to this regard and one major feature to mark this is the “Clear History” button. According to Zuckerberg, users would be able to clear their browsing history on the platform. This hopefully would help the company regain users trust that was shattered lately.
These are all nice refreshes and updates from the Internet Giant aimed at connecting the world. Do let us know what you think about them.