F8 Conference Shows How Facebook Plans to Deepen User Engagement

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F8 Conference Shows How Facebook Plans to Deepen User Engagement

Facebook’s F8 conference demonstrated that the company has grown beyond building a social network and moved into creating a social application platform. Now Facebook is staking its future on becoming a development springboard for augmented reality and virtual reality applications. It introduced Facebook Spaces to enable users to interact with their friends and contacts in virtual environment. In addition, Facebook Workplace, the company's alternative to the Slack workgroup collaboration platform that so far has gotten off to a slow start, received a much-needed boost at the show. Ultimately, Facebook is developing new ways to encourage users to maintain and deepen their engagement with the world's largest social network. This slide show will cover Facebook's latest initiatives.

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F8 Focuses on Social Media as an Application Platform

Surprisingly, Facebook talked very little about social networking at F8. Rather, it focused on technologies that use the social network as a springboard for new experiences, such as Spaces and Messenger. The market has moved beyond focusing solely on social networking.

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It’s All About Attracting and Keeping Users

Facebook wants to attract users to a variety of platforms and services and keep them engaged. Facebook needs to keep expanding and maintaining its user base to it can grow its revenue from advertising and other services.

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Facebook Spaces Delivers VR

Facebook Spaces was unveiled at F8 as a virtual-reality platform that lets users create an avatar of themselves and interact with their other friends on the real-world Facebook. It’s part of the evolution of Facebook’s VR ambitions and only works with its Oculus hardware.

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Facebook Enhances Messenger Bots as Commerce Tool

Facebook outlined a plan to enhance Messenger bots, which users can locate in the new Discover tab. Another feature, called Chat Extensions, lets multiple people chat with a company at the same time. Also, the service’s virtual personal assistant M now supports Delivery.com, allowing users to place food orders through the service.

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Companies Can Grow With Messenger

Companies now have tools to expand their presence on Messenger. A new Smart Replies function speeds response to frequently asked customer questions on their company pages. And Facebook developed a new hand-over protocol so companies can work with multiple developers to create different Messenger “experiences.”

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Facebook Workplace Is an Important Initiative

Facebook Workplace received some attention at F8. The productivity platform is now available for free to companies. Facebook also expanded the number of partners to more easily link content between Workplace and services such as Salesforce. In addition, corporate developers now can make custom bots for Workplace.

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Facebook Camera Gain Augmented Reality Features

A Facebook Camera update currently in beta adds several augmented-reality features. The app features 3D effects and can automatically recognize objects. Facebook Camera also includes point-of-view modifications that work in much the same way as Snapchat’s AR features.

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Its Supporting the Developer Community

While Facebook focused mostly on its own app development, it wants to make developers’ lives easier, too. The company unveiled Developer Circles, a service that helps identify and fix problems in creating apps for its platforms.  The Places Graph provides data on 140 million-plus points of interest around the world that developers can add to their apps.

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Delivering Connectivity to the World

Facebook is also investing in connecting people in emerging markets. The company said it’s made strides in delivering more and faster coverage to disparate parts of the world, and it plans to expand those efforts. Additionally, it announced the Tether-tenna, a helicopter that can deploy emergency connectivity.

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Facebook Working on Advanced Biosensor Input Technology

Facebook has a facility it calls Building 8, where it dreams up advanced concepts. At F8, the company said Building 8 is working on a technology called “silent communication,” which uses non-invasive sensors that can communicate with a user’s brain. When the user thinks up a message, the sensors react and type out the message on a computer.

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