Facebook F8 Developer Conference: Chatbots for Messenger, Surround 360 Camera, and more

The annual Facebook F8 Developer Conference held in San Francisco took place last night and had a vast sea of thing to discuss. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to launch a new messenger platform tool designed to let developers create chat bots for customer interaction. The new tool will feature API for the app and chat widgets for the web.

At the end of the function, it was clear that the future of Facebook lies in platforms with inventions set to encourage developers to create Facebook ecosystems. The new platform was just but one from the myriad of new tools announced last night during the F8 Developer Conference.

Messenger Platform at F8
David Marcus at F8 Developer Conference 2016

It is barely a fortnight since Facebook announced that the Messenger had hit 900 million users collectively sending over 60 billion messages daily. Facebook has now launched the beta version of its messenger platform.

With Facebook boasting of over 50 million businesses with active Facebook pages, the vice president, David Marcus guaranteed users that they will spend more cash that they want on the new Messenger.

To facilitate the conversational shopping experiences, the company debuted its send/receive API designed to support the transfer of text, call-to-action buttons as well as images.

Facebook also uses the event to show of the new Bot Engine, a technology behind the intelligent assistant M that allows developers to create even more sophisticated bots.

Marcus further added that users will be required to feed Bot Engine with a sample conversation and then it will be able to handle variations of the conversation on its own thanks to the Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine learning.

VR Camera Rig

Following the launch of Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets, Facebook announced during the F8 conference a new camera rig dubbed Surround 360 Camera. With 17 synchronized cameras shooting 8K videos at 60 frames per second, the rig is designed to split out the footage ready for uploading with very brief post-processing.

Chris Cox at F8 Developer Conference 2016
Chris Cox at F8 Developer Conference 2016

Facebook’s vice president of product, Chris Cox said that Facebook has no plans to venture into the camera business. As such, Facebook will be open sourcing the Surround 360 and share the hardware designs and algorithms in Github later in summer.

Other Announcemnents at F8 Developer Conference:

  • Live API: Facebook Live has been incredibly successful, and now Facebook is opening up their API so developers can design even more ways for people and publishers to interact and share in real time on Facebook.
  • Bots for Messenger: As part of the new Messenger Platform, bots can provide anything from automated subscription content like weather and traffic updates, to customized communications like receipts, shipping notifications, and live automated messages — all by interacting directly with the people who want to get them. The Messenger Send / Receive API will support not only sending and receiving text, but also images and interactive rich bubbles containing multiple calls-to-action.
  • Facebook Surround 360: Facebook has designed and built a 3D-360 camera system called Facebook Surround 360 that produces sharp, truly spherical footage in 3D. The system includes stitching technology that seamlessly marries the video from 17 cameras, vastly reducing post-production effort and time. Facebook will be making the design specs and stitching code available on GitHub this summer.
  • Profile Expression Kit: People can now use third-party apps to create fun and personality-infused profile videos with just a few taps. The closed beta kicks off today with support for six apps: Boomerang by Instagram, Lollicam, BeautyPlus, Cinemagraph Pro by Flixel, Lollicam, MSQRD, and Vine.
  • Free Basics Simulator & Demographic Insights: It’s now easier for developers to build for Free Basics with the Free Basics Simulator, which lets them see how their service will appear in the product, and Demographic Insights, which helps them better understand the types of people using their services.
  • Account Kit: Account Kit gives people the choice to log into new apps with just their phone number or email address, helping developers grow their apps to new audiences.
  • Facebook Analytics for Apps updates: More than 450,000 unique apps already use this product to understand, reach, and expand their audiences, and we’re now introducing more features to help developers and marketers grow their businesses with deeper audience insights, and push and in-app notifications (beta).
  • Quote Sharing: Quote Sharing is new way for people to easily share quotes they find around the web or in apps with their Facebook friends.
  • Save Button: The Save Button lets people save interesting articles, products, videos, and more from around the web into their Saved folder on Facebook, where they can easily access it later from any device.

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