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5 Major announcements from Facebook’s developer conference

Will they change our way of living?

By Ajit Krishna | Apr 20, 2017, 11.39 AM IST
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In the annual developer conference of Facebook called F8, the company laid out its vision for the future by announcing new tools and technologies. From new augmented reality camera effects for Facebook to new chat bots to offline mode in Instagram, the announcements give you a glimpse of how Facebook envisions its future.

‘More than 4,000 people attended the event at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, and millions watched the keynote via Facebook Live,’ says a Facebook blog post.

Here is the list of major announcements made by the company during the F8 conference:

New camera platform to boost Augmented Reality
Facebook is often criticized for taking cues from its rival Snapchat to revamp Facebook Messager and Instagram. It needs to bring some new features to the table to distinguish itself from the crowd. The new camera platform to boost augmented reality on its in-app cameras is a big leap in the right direction. The platform allows developers in experimenting with games, image and video filters, etc. It showcased a demo where a dull picture of an office is embellished with bouncy balls and skittles using AR.



A major overhaul of Workplace By Facebook
Workplace by Facebook is a business communication tool, which is being used in 14,000 organizations across the world. Now, Facebook has launched a free version of the tool called Workplace standard. Also, it has introduced several new features like integration with enterprise services from Microsoft and Salesforce. Custom bots are integrated into the app to ease work chat. This move is coming at a time when Microsoft Teams and Slack are gaining adoption at a rapid pace.

Instagram in offline mode on Android
Instagram for Android can be used offline. Though it sounds bizarre, the actual functionality is not out-of-the-box. In the offline mode, one can perform actions like following or unfollowing accounts, liking or commenting on the photos. The data gets updated automatically when the app is connected to the internet. The Explore tab will also work offline, thus, enabling users to see profiles visited previously and posts already downloaded. The offline mode comes handy in developing countries where internet connection is not reliable. More offline features will be introduced in future, and offline mode may also be featured on iOS soon.

Third-party app extensions, chat bots in Messenger
In an anticipation to make Facebook Messenger as a primary messaging app on every smartphone, Facebook has introduced a slew of new features on the app. Now, app developers can directly add their extensions to Messenger chats. The extensions will enable users to perform basic functions through the Messenger chat itself. Spotify, Open Table, Food Network, etc., already have their extensions ready to be inserted into the chats. Also, Apple announced that it would create an extension for Apple Music soon.

Chat Bots which were first introduced in 2016 received a lackluster response from the users. However, Facebook is still betting on the bots. It has added a Discovery tab that consists of featured bots, tending bots and an option to search for new bots.

An interface to let you type with your brain
AI and AR are two buzz words in any technology company. However, Facebook it taking to the new level by creating an interface that helps you to write using your thoughts. The company said it is working to enhance the capabilities of the interface so that it can type faster than human hands, maybe 100 words per minute.

A helicopter to provide internet access during disasters
It is common phenomenon during disasters communication mediums gets disrupted that further aggravates the situation. Facebook is building a helicopter called Tether-tenna that can deliver instant internet access during emergencies. The new technology can be deployed for months during the crisis to bring back life to the normal state. However, its development is still in embryonic stage.

You can watch the full keynote here.


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