What happened at the Facebook F8 Conference?
April 20, 2016
Every year Facebook hosts an annual gathering of its vast developer community in San Francisco. This conference is held to announce all the latest launches, technologies and experiences being rolled out by the company.
For those of us who weren’t able to visit the conference in person, here Action Digital has listed some of the most important messages that were communicated at the event.
Save to Facebook
Although tools that allow internet users to save interesting articles have been around for a while now, Facebook has now launched its very own save feature with allows users to revisit a post or link later when you have more time to read it. Using the new Save to Facebook feature is extremely easy. Just click on the link, then click on the little Save button down in the right hand corner. Alternatively click on the drop down arrow in the top right hand side of the post and click Save Post. Once you are ready to sit down and read the article or link, head over to your Saved area either on the left hand column on a computer or in the More section at the bottom left of the mobile App. Separated into categories for ease of access, while saved items can also be easily shared and archived using the tool bar.
Facebook’ new Instant Articles tool will probably be most popular amongst publishers, writers and bloggers, as it gives them a new way to create fast, interactive experience for reading articles on the Facebook News Feed. By utilising the same mobile app technology that enables images or videos to upload quickly, Instant Articles brings up articles up to ten times faster than standard mobile web articles and also features a collection of fun and creative interactive tools such as auto-play videos, interactive maps, tilt-to-pan photos and embedded audio captions. The feature is easy to use for publishers with no new tools to learn how to use; instead they are now able to publish content straight from their Content Management System. According to Facebook, Instant Articles inspires people to share an article 30% more often than mobile web articles meaning that your content is liked to go much further and reach more people.
Created for mobile app developers, the new Account Kit tool allows users to log into new apps without having to use a password, but rather just a phone number or email address. By making this feature accessible to people without a Facebook account, the tool enables developers to grow their potential app audience by widening the reach of people who can use the app. Created with ease of implementation in mind, the Account Kit is simple and quick to apply, allowing the developer to focus on what they do best – create apps. The kit is built on Facebook’s infrastructure meaning that it will be updated as technology, systems and devices change, while additional advantages include a Customizable user interface (UI), Rich analytics and a Facebook notification backup option.
Free Basics Simulator
Part of the Internet.org by Facebook initiative, Free Basics provides around one billion people from countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America, with access to basic internet services such as news, health, travel, jobs, sports, communication and local government information – all completely free of charge. And the service is expanding and growing, with this year’s F8 forum announcing the launch of the Free Basics Simulator; a tool which allows developers to visualise and test how their service will look and perform on Free Basics and then adapt according to the tools main function – optimising web sites for browsing on older devices and with limited bandwidth. Created as a useful resource for brands looking to modify their product for the next billion people from developing countries set to come online in the future, the new simulator tool is available to all developers through the Free Basics website.
Another newly introduced Free Basics related tool for developers is Demographic Insights, which allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the exact demographic breakdown of their site’s users. The breakdown is divided into anonymised and aggregated information pertaining to age, gender and country; and is available to all Free Basics developers from the Content Partner Portal. By understanding their audiences better, developers can then build according to their preferences, tailor making content, experiences and information specifically to the relevant demographic.
The digital world has been waiting for the dawn of the bot era for some time now, and now, according to Facebook, developers will now be able to build chat bots for both Facebook Messenger and, perhaps more interestingly, for their own company websites. The idea is to use the bot not only as a media and communications tool but also as tool for commerce to be used by businesses to interact with their customers on a more personal level. The new bots will be able to accomplish a wide range of features from weather or traffic updates, acting as a shopping assistant, sending live automated message, receipts and shipping notifications, and will be able to contain text, images and calls-to-action
If you have ever wanted to share a particular line, passage, quote or sentence from an article you have been reading online, you’ll appreciate this new Quote Sharing feature. The tool will allow users to quickly and easily select the text that you want to copy and then share it directly to Facebook without any of the fiddly copying, pasting and alternating between tabs. To Quote Share using the new tool all you will need to do it highlight the segment of text that you want to share and wait for the dedicated Quote Share button to pop up. Although not yet available on all platforms or sites, the feature is expected to be implemented across the web very soon.