F8 2018: Facebook Clear history tool, Instagram Stories third party apps, WhatsApp Group Video calling and other big announcements

Facebook F8 was all about connecting people and tightening security and privacy features of the platform.

  • Published: May 2, 2018 3:41 PM IST
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Facebook is back in the news, this time, with a lot of good reasons. The social media giant announced a number of new features coming to the platform at its annual developer conference F8 in San Francisco. The search giant addressed the pressing questions of the time – privacy. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg once again apologized for the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and he delivered a clear message on how the company is taking a broader view of its responsibility.

Since actions speak louder than voice, Zuckerberg wasted no time in demonstrating how its plans to address questions around privacy, security and user engagement on the platform. He also said how the company will continue to build on encryption feature supported by WhatsApp after its co-founder Jan Koum announced that he is leaving Facebook for new endeavors yesterday. Facebook once again sold the message how its decision to go all in on Stories format has helped to grow user engagement on Instagram and WhatsApp. The company also announced that it is bringing dating feature to Facebook because there is a real opportunity for the company to take on leaders Tinder, Bumble and Hinge.

The company also announced that Oculus Go, the first standalone VR headset from Oculus, is now shipping to consumers. The device is priced at $199 and will make virtual reality accessible to more users. The underlying message was that Facebook is at the centre of connections and community and here is every new feature coming to the platform in the next few weeks:

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a new tool called "Clear History" that will allow users to see the websites and apps that send your information to the platform. Users can then delete this information from their account and even turn off the ability to store data associated with your account. The tool enables users to stop Facebook from tracking its users across browsers and web platforms.

  • For Facebook, Instagram is shaping up to be the non-controversial and serious growth tool. At F8, Facebook announced new features coming to Stories including support for third-party integrations. The idea here is to let users share their music directly from a streaming service instead of sharing a screenshot. These third party integrations will support rich interface and will directly open links in their own applications.

  • Instagram is also getting video calling feature and a refreshed explore tab that aims to make it easier to discover new content. The explore tab will be more streamlined across different subjects and use AI to suggest new content. The feature is expected to roll out in the coming months.

  • WhatsApp gained support for voice and video call feature last year and at F8, Facebook detailed support for group video calling. WhatsApp says helping users communicate naturally and securely with their friends and family remains the core mission of the service and with group video calling, WhatsApp users will now be able to bring in more users than previously possible.

  • Facebook is one of the biggest technology company that still remains bullish on virtual reality. At F8 2018, Facebook announced that Oculus Go VR headset is now shipping to consumers in 23 countries. Oculus Go is a standalone VR headset that does not need a PC or mobile device for connection. It is priced at $199 (around Rs 13,300) and can make VR accessible to a lot of people.

  • At F8, Facebook announced that it is bringing AR camera effects to its Messenger service. The feature helps Facebook users get instant feedback about purchases and developers will be able to build experiences that let users to virtually customize or try on merchandise. The Messenger is also getting M suggestions for translations across languages.

  • Facebook also announced that it is once again accepting apps for review after suspending it due to Cambridge Analytica scandal. The social media giant sent me a strong message that it will stick with its developers and continue to support them with new tools and platform innovation.

  • Published Date: May 2, 2018 3:41 PM IST