Apr 18th, 2017

Mark Zuckerberg took the stage today at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference to discuss the future of the social network and all the services therein. There’s was a lot to cover, with the single biggest takeaway being Facebook’s all new augmented reality Camera platform. Augmented reality looks to be the next big thing in tech and it was only earlier today Snapchat got the jump on Facebook with new augmented reality 3D stickers that can be placed inside users’ videos.

The future of Facebook: Augmented Reality

Running with this idea, Facebook is officially opening up augmented reality to developers today in closed beta, a big reason why all their apps now feature a Snapchat-like camera shortcut. According to Zucks, augmented reality will play a huge part in how people interact with each other inside their apps, so they’re betting big by allowing developers to create their own masks, frames, and anything else they can think up through Facebook’s open Camera platform.

Facebook Spaces

With Google Spaces officially shutting down today (is anyone really surprised?), Facebook is also launching something they’re calling “Facebook Spaces.” Not to be confused with Google Spaces (which was officially shut down today), Spaces is simply a place for you and your friends to hang out in virtual reality. A beta version of the app will be available this Tuesday, creating a virtual avatar of you based on photos you’ve uploaded to the social network. It’s a fun way of interacting with others and gives users the ability to draw with virtual markers, make calls through Messenger, or just hangout and watch 360-degree videos.

Facebook Messenger 2.0

Facebook is also showing Messenger a little love, announcing version 2.0 of the platform. Facebook Messenger 2.0 focuses on bots (again), this time with a new Discover tab that allows you browse all the different bots at your disposal. You can either search for something in particular, or scroll through all the bots where they’ll be organized and separated by categories, last used, and trending.

Facebook is also adding extensions, something that allows developers to integrate their services directly inside chats. For instance, services like Spotify can add additional functionality by allowing users to drop a song into a chat and listen to it all at once (whether they have the full Spotify app installed on their device or not). Facebook’s M virtual assistant is also gaining some new abilities. M will now be able to suggest placing orders through Delivery.com.

QR codes are also going to play a bigger role in Messenger, specifically for businesses who can create QR codes that can be scanned through the app to pull up relevant info about events and so forth. Previously QR codes were only used as an easy way of finding your friends or family through the app, so this will be the first time they’re opening up this functionality to brands.

If you’d like to learn more about Facebook’s plans for the future, you can watch the entire Facebook keynote from the F8 developer conference on YouTube right here (1hr 34 min) or get the main talking points from Engadget’s 10 minute video below.

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