Facebook is closing up shop on this year’s F8 Conference 2017, but not before dropping some bombshell announcements. The company made it clear this week that it’s committed to creating new social experiences beyond the Newsfeed—particularly with AR, VR and 360-degree video.
In addition to that, the easily forgotten Facebook M assistant got a little bit of attention. It’ll soon enable businesses to automate customer interactions, or suggest various information based on a conversation you’re having on the platform. All in all, F8 presents interesting, new opportunities for brands to truly connect with their communities.
EMBRACING VISUAL PLATFORMS
Making AR Ubiquitous at Facebook F8
We all know Facebook’s invested in VR with Oculus, but what about AR? At the F8 Conference, Facebook unveiled its Camera Effects platform. This tool empowers users and brands to develop AR apps accessible via the Facebook app’s camera.
AR and VR are both big parts of Facebook’s 10-year plan unveiled last year. While it might seem as though Facebook is further piggybacking off Snapchat—its AR effects seem similar to Snapchat’s lenses—the Camera Effects platform might revolutionize AR apps just as the Messenger platform did for chatbots. And like the Messenger platform, it provides Facebook (and brands) a competing platform outside of Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
Hang Out With Friends in Virtual Reality
One of the more jaw-dropping Facebook F8 announcements is Spaces. This VR app lets you sit face-to-face with cartoon representations of your friends. Users can hang out together in a variety of environments—essentially, a surrounding 360-degree image—and collaborate in drawing 3D objects within the space.
Spaces is meant to be enjoyed with your Facebook friends, but might extend to larger, more open groups.
What Can Brands Look Forward To From Facebook’s F8 Conference 2017?
What does this mean for brands? Both the Messenger and Camera Effects platforms provide new ways for brands to connect with their communities. Messenger is getting a boost with media-rich applications, like sharing music and games within the platform. Camera Effects offer novel ways for brands to visually engage with their fans and extend their brand environment.
AN INTEREST IN STORYTELLING
By presenting new media in the form of VR, AR and chatbots, Facebook expressed an interest in focusing on storytelling moving forward. A few months ago, the platform dipped its toes into media publishing with its Journalism Project, which offers multiple “Instant Articles” as a package centered around a topic or theme.
Facebook has long resisted the label of being a media/news outlet, not helped by accusations of the platform enabling hoax news stories to go viral. But the social network is cozying up to the news industry, having recently co-founded a set of journalism courses with Poynter. The course provides media outlets with training on reporting via tools like Live Video and Facebook 360.
Because Facebook wants to push its various media platforms, it makes sense that the company would provide incentive for media companies to use them. In fact, newspapers who aren’t embracing multimedia are apparently punished on the Newsfeed with lower visibility.
But one thing’s for certain: expect to see a lot of Facebook 360 in the coming weeks. The company gave away thousands of 360-degree cameras at the Facebook F8 conference, so you can bet the biggest brands and social media influencers will be experimenting with the medium.
What did you learn at Facebook F8 Conference 2017, and how do you look forward to using it with your brand? Let us know your ideas in the comments!