The annual Facebook’s F8 developer conference was held on 18th April 2017 at McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. More than 4000 people attended this year’s conference and millions watched the keynote via Facebook Live. In case you missed, here are some of the highlights of the conference:
1. Camera Effects Platform: Mark Zuckerberg opened the conference with a keynote about how camera is the first mainstream augmented reality (AR) platform. He introduced the Camera Effects Platform and two products, namely:
• Frames Studio, an online creative editor that allows users to design frames that can be used either as profile picture frames or in the new Facebook camera.
• AR Studio (now in beta) used to create masks, scripted effects, animated frames and other AR technologies that react to movement, the environment or interactions during live videos.
They also unveiled a new camera for recording VR through “Surround 360” technology. Two models – the X24 and X6 will help record 360-degree video footage for experiencing through the VR kit.
Facebook is also planning an AI-infused camera across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. They also launched Caffe2 — an open source deep learning framework to build and run AI algorithms on a phone.
2. Facebook Spaces: Facebook Spaces is a new virtual reality (VR) app where users can hang out with friends with virtual elements in a virtual space with real-world backgrounds. You can draw imaginary lines in that air, take selfies with your virtually generated friends and do a direct video call with another friend through Messenger’s video calling facility.
3. Messenger bots: Chatbot is the new buzzword in the tech space. Facebook announced the addition of a flurry of new features to the platform. These include the Discover Tab that will help users to find the bot for Messenger they’re looking for. Chat Extensions will allow multiple people to chat with the same business at the same time. One of the most exciting announcements is that both Spotify and Apple Music are coming to the platform. Messenger’s AI powered voice assistant, M will now help users with suggestions to improve their communication experience on the app. Smart Replies is an another feature which will help Pages to respond to the most frequently asked questions – such as business hours, directions and contact details. Finally, Hand-over Protocol, a new way for businesses to work with multiple developers for different experiences on Messenger.
4. Building 8: The Building 8, Facebook’s product development and research team lead by Regina Dugan is working on developing what the company calls silent speech communication. The project is focusing on two areas:
• Typing with your brain: The project will enable computers to read human thought and turn them into words. According to Facebook, you shall be able to write 100 words per minute by only thinking about the content in your mind. That can be achieved by decoding neural code through additional hardware and software that can be embedded in the current communication input system.
• Hearing through your skin: They are also working on a project to let people hear through their skins. The team feels that 2 square meter of skin available on our bodies can be a great medium in receiving massive amounts of information through a combination of hardware and software dedicated to the activity.
Some of the other announcements include the launch of Places Graph, Developer Circles, Identity & new capabilities in Facebook Analytics. Zuckerberg also mentioned that the team in Arizona is working on conducting the second test of its solar powered drone Aquila.
The Pandas would like to hear from you, too. What was exciting about this year’s F8 Conference ? Your recommendations and suggestions?