Mark Zuckerberg opened Facebook's F8 two-day event with a keynote on how the company is promoting a more privacy-focused social platform and tranforms into a private messaging and e-commerce company.
Zuckerberg unveiled a fresh design for the world’s biggest social network that de-emphasized its News Feed and showcased its messaging app, online marketplace and video-on-demand site.
The company also rolled out features aimed at encouraging users to interact with their close social circle as well as with businesses, such as a “Secret Crush” option for Facebook Dating and a tool for appointment booking.
Here are the highlights of Facebook's announcements
Facebook is re-building the architecture of Messenger from the ground up to be faster and lighter than ever before. This completely re-engineered Messenger will begin to roll out later this year.
When you’re not together with friends or family in your physical living room, Messenger will now let you discover and watch videos from Facebook together in real time. You’ll be able to share a video from the Facebook app on Messenger and invite others to watch together while messaging or on a video chat. Facebook is testing this now and will begin to roll it out globally later this year.
Facebook also announced a Messenger Desktop app. You can download the app on your desktop — both Windows and MacOS — and have group video calls, collaborate on projects or multi-task while chatting in Messenger. The company is testing this now and will roll it out globally later this year.
In Messenger, Facebook is introducing a dedicated space where you can discover Stories and messages with your closest friends and family. You’ll also be able to share snippets from your own day and can choose exactly who sees what you post. This will roll out later this year.
Helping Businesses Connect with Customers
Facebook is making it easier for businesses to connect with potential customers by adding lead generation templates to Ads Manager. There, businesses can create an ad that drives people to a simple Q&A in Messenger to learn more about their customers. And to make it easier to book an appointment with businesses like car dealerships, stylists or cleaning services, Facebook has created an appointment experience so people can book appointments within a Messenger conversation.
People and businesses are finding WhatsApp a great way to connect. In the months ahead people will be able to see a business catalog right within WhatsApp when chatting with a business. With catalogs, businesses can showcase their goods so people can easily discover them.
Facebook is making changes that put Groups at the center of Facebook and sharing new ways Facebook can help bring people together offline.
The company is rolling out FB5, a fresh new design for Facebook that’s simpler and faster, and puts your communities at the center. People will start seeing some of these updates in the Facebook app right away, and the new desktop site will come in the next few months.
This redesign makes it easy for people to go from public spaces to more private ones, like Groups. There are tens of millions of active groups on Facebook. Today, more than 400 million people on Facebook belong to a group that they find meaningful. That’s why Facebook is introducing new tools that will make it easier for you to discover and engage with groups of people who share your interests:
- Redesigned Groups tab to make discovery easier: Facebook has completely redesigned the Groups tab. The tab now shows a personalized feed of activity across all your groups. And the new discovery tool with improved recommendations lets you quickly find groups you might be interested in.
- Facebook is also making it easier to get relevant group recommendations elsewhere in the app like in Marketplace, Today In, the Gaming tab, and Facebook Watch. You may see more content from your groups in News Feed. And, you will be able to share content directly to your groups from News Feed, the same way you do with friends and family.
- New features to support specific communities: Different communities have different needs, so Facebook is introducing new features for different types of groups. Through new Health Support groups, members can post questions and share information without their name appearing on a post. Job groups will have a new template for employers to post openings, and easier ways for job seekers to message the employer and apply directly through Facebook. Gaming groups will get a new chat feature so members can create threads for different topics within the group. Facebook is also exploring ways to let buyers easily ask questions and place orders without leaving the live broadcast.
Connecting with Your Secret Crush
On Facebook Dating, you can opt in to discover potential matches within your own Facebook communities: events, groups, friends of friends and more. It’s currently available in Colombia, Thailand, Canada, Argentina, and Mexico — and today, Facebook is expanding to 14 new countries: Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana, and Suriname.
Facebook also announced a new feature called Secret Crush. The company believes there is an opportunity to explore potential romantic relationships within your own extended circle of friends. So now, if you choose to use Secret Crush, you can select up to nine of your Facebook friends who you want to express interest in. If your crush has opted into Facebook Dating, they will get a notification saying that someone has a crush on them. If your crush adds you to their Secret Crush list, it’s a match! If your crush isn’t on Dating, doesn’t create a Secret Crush list, or doesn’t put you on their list, no one will know that you’ve entered a friend’s name.
A Way to Meet New Friends
Facebook has created Meet New Friends to help people start friendships with new people from their shared communities like a school, workplace or city. It’s opt-in, so you will only see other people that are open to meeting new friends, and vice versa. Facebook has started testing Meet New Friends in a few places, and will roll it out wider soon. The company will also be integrating Facebook Groups, making it possible to meet new friends from your most meaningful communities on Facebook.
Shipping on Marketplace
People will soon be able to ship Marketplace items anywhere in the continental US and pay for their purchases directly on Facebook. For sellers this means reaching more buyers and getting paid securely, and for buyers this means shopping more items.
A New Events Tab
This summer Facebook is introducing the new Events tab so you can see what’s happening around you, get recommendations, discover local businesses, and coordinate with friends to make plans to get together.
Facebook rolled out new ways to connect people with each other and their interests on Instagram.
The Ability to Shop from Creators
Starting next week, you can shop inspiring looks from the creators you love without leaving Instagram. Instead of taking a screenshot or asking for product details in comments or Direct, you can simply tap to see exactly what your favorite creators are wearing and buy it on the spot. Anyone in Facebook's global community will be able to shop from creators. Facebook will begin testing this with a small group of creators next week, with plans to expand access over time.
A Way to Fundraise for Causes
Starting today, you can raise money for a nonprofit you care about directly on Instagram. Through a donation sticker in Stories, you can create a fundraiser and mobilize your community around a cause you care about — with 100% of the money raised on Instagram going to the nonprofit you’re supporting. This will be available in the US now and Facebook is working to bring it to more countries.
A New and Improved Camera
In the coming weeks, Facebook is introducing a new camera design including Create Mode, which gives you an easy way to share without a photo or video. This new camera will make it easier to use popular creative tools like effects and interactive stickers.
Facebook is building technology around how we naturally interact with people. The company announced a number of new ways it is helping people connect more deeply in video calls through Portal. Facebook shared more on its work to bring AR experiences to more people and platforms, and opened pre-orders for Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S.
Portal Expands Internationally this Fall
Beginning with an initial expansion from the US to Canada, Facebook will also offer the Portal and Portal+ in Europe this fall. The company is bringing WhatsApp to Portal — and will be bringing end-to-end encryption to all calls. You’ll be able to call any of your friends who use WhatsApp — or Messenger — on their Portal, or on their phone.
Beyond Video Calling
This summer Facebook is adding new ways to connect on Portal. You’ll be able to say, “Hey Portal, Good Morning” to get updates on birthdays, events and more. Facebook is also adding the ability to send private video messages from Portal to your loved ones. And, through our collaboration with Amazon, Facebook is adding more visual features and Alexa skills to Portal, including Flash Briefings, smart home control and the Amazon Prime Video app later this year. You’ll also be able to use Facebook Live on Portal, so you can share special moments, with your closest friends, in real time.
SuperFrame to Display Your Favorite Photos
Portal’s SuperFrame lets you display your favorite photos when you’re not on a call. You can already add photos to SuperFrame from your Facebook feed, and starting today, you’ll be able to add your favorites from Instagram as well. And a new mobile app will let you add photos to Portal’s Superframe directly from your camera roll, later this summer.
Spark AR Expands to More People
Starting today, the new Spark AR Studio supports both Windows and Mac and includes new features and functionality for creation and collaboration. Facebook is also opening Instagram to the entire Spark AR creator and developer ecosystem this summer.
Oculus Quest and Rift S Pre-Orders Open
Facebook's two newest virtual reality headsets — Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S — ship May 21. Oculus Quest, our first all-in-one VR gaming system, lets you pick up and play almost anywhere without being tethered to a PC. For those with a gaming PC, Rift S gets you into content that VR has to offer. Both start at $399 USD and you can pre-order today at oculus.com.
Facebook is also launching the new Oculus for Business later this year. It adding Oculus Quest to the program and will provide a suite of tools designed to help companies reshape the way they do business through VR.