This week Facebook held its annual f8 Developers Conference and announced many updates that may significantly change the way you use the Social Network. Facebook is becoming a powerful hub, broadly expanding its capabilities on the Internet. If you’re looking forward to making the most of Facebook, you’ll want to know about these new features.
Facebook is updating its platforms so users, businesses and developers can connect directly. Developers will have increased abilities to create apps within Facebook for uses such as gaming, controlling household objects and playing music. Businesses will be able to connect directly with customers via Facebook with a new source for communication.
Someday you may not have much reason to visit a website besides Facebook. This week’s announcements made that possibility closer to a reality.
Messenger Platform Apps
In 2011 Facebook split its Messenger service from the Facebook app with a separate Messenger app for mobile devices, giving you an alternative to text messages. Much of the f8 announcements were about Messenger, illustrating the importance of the service for the future of Facebook. Soon you’ll be able to liven up your messages with Platform apps that work within the Messenger app, well beyond the stickers currently available.
You’ll be able to add music, animation, GIF’s and more to your Facebook messages using the updated Messenger app. If a friend sends you a message using a Messenger Platform app, you’ll be able to install that app directly from their message.
Developers will be able to program Messenger apps to control household objects. Someday you may be able to turn on lights, open your garage door and check on your home security system using Facebook.
Messenger for Business
Facebook envisions a future where businesses can communicate with their customers using Messenger. Instead of calling Customer Service and waiting on hold, you could use Messenger to contact a business directly.
You’ll be able to use Facebook to connect with businesses to place orders online, make restaurant reservations, get shipping updates and ask questions about your order. If you give permission to a business they’ll be able to contact you via Facebook Messenger to ask you questions about your order, notify you of special offers and more.
You’ll be able to send money to your Facebook friends via Messenger. Although not announced at f8, the ability to pay businesses using Facebook seems like a natural expansion of this feature.
Imagine seeing photos of a friend’s exotic trip and being able to book a vacation to that destination without ever leaving Facebook.
Messenger as a Platform
Facebook will also be expanding use of Messenger so that websites will be able to add a Messenger button for sharing. Read an article you think a friend would enjoy? Use the Messenger button to share the article with your friend directly.
Facebook is adding a video feature so you can add videos directly into Facebook to share them with your friends. No more need to upload videos to YouTube first, you can add them directly to Facebook and control sharing with your friends, friends of friends or the public.
Facebook is adding a spherical video capability so you’ll be able move around certain videos 360° to get different perspectives.
The airspace above you may be getting more crowded as Facebook announced tests to use solar-powered drones to bring Internet service to remote locations. Like Amazon, which is investing in drone delivery of its products, Facebook is developing a fleet of unmanned drone planes, called Aquila, that will offer aerial Internet connectivity to areas with low-density populations.
The drone planes will be about the size of a Boeing 747 but weigh less than a car. Test flights of the full-sized planes will begin this summer and tests of a smaller version have already been conducted.
On This Day
Another new Facebook feature announced this week is On This Day. Similar to Timehop, On This Day shows you what happened on this date in previous years.
» Check out Timehop: Get a Daily Blast from Your Past!
Unlike Timehop though, Facebook has implemented a filter to prevent your sadder memories from being revisited. Facebook will show you posts to your timeline by others and posts and photos you’ve been tagged in.
You can subscribe to notifications to get an alert when you have a new On This Day. Only you can see your On This Day unless you choose to share them with friends. Facebook lets you delete any of the posts, photos, etc. that you’d rather not see.
On This Day is being rolled out to Facebook users globally.
Are you excited about these new developments from Facebook? Which ones interest you the most? Do you look forward to a day when Facebook is the Internet of Everything? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below!