Major Facebook announcements show shift to VR, consumer electronics

With virtual reality as the theme on everyone’s mind and in development over the past year, it’s no surprise that at Facebook’s annual F8 Conference for developers, creating an immersive experience and having Facebook at the center of it all, was the highlight of its conversation.

“Virtual Reality is the most social platform because you actually feel like you’re right there,” Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said during the opening speech of the F8 keynote. He explained how he sees a world united and how Facebook continues to try to connect people, bringing them together through both platform updates and progress outside its main offering.

“We’re building the technology to give people the power to share and bring people together. The path forward is to connect with people. When you give more people a voice, that makes the world better and gives an optimistic view of the future.”  Along the same ideology, he stated, “Instead of building walls, we can help build bridges. Instead of dividing people, we can connect people.”

With this at the forefront of Facebook’s progress, an immersive, real-life experience is what’s being achieved.

Facebook announced a few interesting updates that it’ll be making to its platform as well as secondary properties such as Messenger.

Updates Announced for Facebook:

  • Facebook will release new hand-held technology to add a layer to the delayed Oculus Rift. It will allow users to be completely immersed in the virtual experience. Not only will users be able to see the world around them, but they will be able to interact by picking things up and touching objects in the environment.
  • Account Kit: say goodbye to usernames and passwords you create and forget the next time around. Account Kit will use your email and phone number to sign you into applications and online sites. The best part about this, unlike the “Sign in with Facebook” button, once created, you don’t have to have a Facebook account to sign up.
  • Save to Facebook: the Save button resurges. Save any article page destination you’re navigating to with the Save to Facebook option and it’ll be stored in your account to access at a later time. This almost seems a bit Pinterest-like.
  • Bots for Messenger: the ability to have brands create chatbots to aid users and offer information/services within Messenger. Brands can build experiences within Messenger such as an automated shopping experience (Spring) or finding out what the weather will be today or the next few days (Poncho).

Facebook hasn’t been shy in moving outside its original platform, but Oculus marks its first viable attempt at consumer electronics, so its focus here wasn’t shocking. However, if it can pull off the world-connecting its proposing through software, it may be an unstoppable force once VR reaches maturity. And while it pushes to diversify its revenue stream through consumer devices, we see its doubling down on data, with Saving and Bots sure to feed into Facebook’s knowledge of user interests and needs.


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