Are you noticing a change in Facebook recently? That’s because it’s being redesigned to focus on groups and events, according to Facebook.
Well, at least that’s what Mark Zuckerberg would like us to believe, and exactly what he told the world at this year’s F8, Facebook’s annual developer conference that ran from April 30 to May 1st. Every year, the conference gathers developers to improve the famous social platform.
Zuckerberg opened his keynote address with this: “For the last 15 years or so, we have focused on building Facebook and Instagram into the digital equivalents of town squares. But I believe that the future is private and over time, a private social platform will be even more important in our lives than digital town squares. So today, we’re going to start talking about what this could look like as a product.”
First, Facebook Messenger and Instagram. Back in January, The Verge indicated that the apps were scheduled to receive end-to-end encryption, which essentially means that messages will be sent with an encrypted lock that only the person with the key can unlock and read. This was mentioned in Zuckerberg’s keynote speech, but no solid launch dates were laid out.
What was formally announced for the next few months, though, is the LightSpeed project for Facebook Messenger, which essentially means what its name suggests: a redesign focused on delivering a ‘light’ app that is looking to ‘speed’ things up a little, along with a new desktop app.
Instagram, on the other hand, is getting a few features that Facebook is currently testing in Canada. Instagram will let users hide likes of photos and videos on their feeds, permalink pages, and profiles. A new in-app store for selling products is also planned, but its delivery date should be sometimes in 2019, without more details. As long as Facebook doesn’t wait a year (as they did with its Dating feature, which they announced at F8 2018 but began testing in 14 countries – Lebanon not included – only this week), brands, influencers, and business users will be able to sell products on the app soon enough.
WhatsApp is getting in-app payment features, although their availability will be limited to one million individuals in India for the time being, according to Economic Times.
More Oculus on the way
F8 also set the stage for Facebook’s launch of its two new Oculus VR headsets: Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest, both scheduled for May 21st at $399 in the US.
These launches aim to bring more people into VR, with the Quest reportedly targetting “VR skeptics” specifically, according to Yahoo Finance. Zuckerberg said that “this is an all-in-one headset […] the goal is to eventually get one billion people into VR.” This headset will come with great specs, a pretty screen, and, unlike most all-in-one headsets, two controllers.
As for the Rift S, it is aimed at PC users with inside-out camera-based tracking abilities (versus the current external camera-based tracking capabilities), creating a plug-and-play experience for VR.
As Zuckerberg reiterated his view that Facebook’s family of apps lets us connect with others around the world, the social media giant’s newest products and services hope to achieve both connectivity and security, hoping to quell consumers’ growing distrust – although, according to Statista, there has been no noticeable drop in Facebook’s numbers of monthly users (now standing at 2.3 billion) despite the various scandals that have plagued the platform throughout the past two years. Time will tell how this plan pans out…
Speaking of connectivity, join our Facebook, and Instagram pages and tell us what you think of these announcements and if Facebook is truly winning your trust back.