Facebook F8 Day 1: With Spaces Zuckerberg wants you to meet friends in virtual reality

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Facebook wants to diminish the line between real and the virtual world. At least that is what says Mark Zuckerberg, who for a long time now has driven his key focus on adapting augment reality. The Facebook CEO feels the AR is the next big thing in the tech world. Zuckerberg on Tuesday at annual F8 developers conference spoke a lot about adapting and moving its wings to Virtual and Augmented reality again in a keynote at the company’s annual F8 developers conference held on Tuesday. And to ensure that this is not just a talk, he launched an app called Spaces.

Reuters quoted Zuckerberg as saying that Facebook was an obvious hub for businesses to reach people and experiment with augmented reality. As far as the F8 is concerned, here is everything that Facebook announced.

Facebook Spaces

On Tuesday, Zuckerberg announced a new VR app where user can be in-person with friends and family in VR. The app is in beta phase for Oculus Rift and Touch. It can be downloaded from Oculus Store. To start with  Facebook Spaces, you have to first choose one of your Facebook photos and you’ll see several options for your VR appearance. Select one and customise it if you want. For example you can change the colour of your eyes, hairstyles or facial features. Once done, now start the experience and invite your friends to join you. With Facebook Spaces you can draw anything using a virtual marker and lots of other activities.

Camera Effects Platform

Facebook has also launched new camera tools that is based on virtual reality. It aims to change the way people interact with friends on social media. According to a report in the Time on Tuesday, AR-powered camera effects will be launched in a closed beta starting immediately. Dozens of AR-powered effects, like masks and frames, will be available within the Facebook app’s camera.

With an AR platform, users will be able to leave a virtual note for a friend at a restaurant or create artwork that appears on a building wall when looking at it with your phone. The social networking giant will launch software to help developers create such experiences called AR Studio. The app that is in its beta version offers a digital avatar to users that helps them chat and interact with users in VR.

More bots for Messenger

Facebook  has also announced new features and advanced tools on Messenger to help both users and developers. Last year at F8, CEO David Marcus announced Messenger as a separate app from Facebook and new features that allowed third parties to create interactive bots. This year Marcus unveiled an improved Messenger which he calls Messenger 2.0.  It gets news bots like Smart Replies that automatically answers to common questions asked by business.

The addition of new QR codes to the Messenger makes it possible to learn more about events in the real world by scanning them with your phone. Facebook also added chat extensions to the Messenger app that lets users share songs and reserve tables directly from chat. It will make it possible for more than one person to interact with a third party app or business at the same time.

Facebook Workplace

Facebook has developed new integrations and tools for its last year’s Facebook Workplace. Company says that over 13,000 organisations are using Workplace on every continent including Antarctica today.  “Now, We’re announcing new integrations and partnerships for companies to improve their day-to-day workflows, ensure regulatory compliance and enable richer communication using Live video, ” writes Facebook’s Simon Cross in a blog.

Developer Circles

Facebook has also launched a new program called Developer Circles to create locally-organised communities for developers. These communities are aim to educate and provide a forum for discussion and knowledge sharing around topics that are top-of-mind for developers in a particular market both online and offline.

Facebook Analytics and Identity Tools

Facebook Analytics basically combines  web and app analytics to assess the performance of a company’s social media page. The company on Tuesday added new capabilities to  enhancing existing features, including automated insights which use advanced machine learning to access user demographics and determine customer behaviour across channels.

Facebook says that the improvements to Facebook Login and Account Kit will help businesses better connect with people on a global scale using Facebook ID, phone number or email.

Apart from all these announcements, Zuckerberg also made a brief mention about the  murder video posted on Facebook. He said that company would do anything to prevent such tragedies and expressed his condolence for the bereaved family.   On Sunday, 37-year-old Steve Stephens murdered an elderly man in Cleveland, Ohio, and later posted video of the crime on Facebook. He also posted that he had killed 12 people in all and vowed to continue killing. Facebook came under severe criticism after the news of Stephen’s death broke.

Zuckerberg also took a jab at Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel’s recent “poor India” statement. He said that Facebook is for everyone and not just for “the high end”.

“I think one thing that people probably don’t think about as much as we do is innovation to serve everyone in the community, not just the high end, right? So we focus on a lot of things like Facebook Lite. It’s up to 200 million people in like a year,” Zuckerberg told Techcrunch on the sidelines of the F8.

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