Facebook changes design, new desktop Messenger app, better ways to connect with close friends in private form, the smart display Portal soon in Europe, Your Secret Crush but many other news are coming.
On April 30, 2019, more than 5,000 developers, creators and entrepreneurs from around the world gathered for the first day of F8 2019, the annual Facebook conference on the future of technology. Mark Zuckerberg opened the two-day event with a keynote on how the company is building a more privacy-focused social platform, providing spaces for people to express themselves freely and feel connected to the people and communities that matter most to them. Zuckerberg also shared how this is a fundamental change in the way Facebook builds its products. Mark then gave the floor to the individual heads of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and AR/VR products to share more announcements.
A faster and lighter Messenger app.
Since people expect their messaging applications to be fast and reliable, the Messenger team is rebuilding the Messenger app architecture from the ground up to deliver an app that’s faster and lighter. This completely redesigned Messenger will start being available by the end of the year.
A way to watch videos together.
For when you’re not with friends or family physically in the same room, Messenger now allows you to discover and watch videos from Facebook together in real time. You can share a video from the Facebook app on Messenger and invite others to watch it together directly in the chat room. This feature is now being tested and will begin to be implemented for all Messenger users globally by the end of the year.
The Messenger desktop app has been announced, as more and more people want to send messages seamlessly from any device. Now available to a group of testers and available to everyone globally by the end of the year, the Desktop Messenger app can be downloaded to Windows and MacOS PCs to make group video calls, collaborate on projects or chat.
Better ways to connect with close friends.
For Messenger, a dedicated and private space is being developed where users can discover stories and messages from their closest friends and family, as well as share moments of their day and choose exactly who can see them. This feature will be launched before the end of the year.
Help companies connect with customers.
Messenger will make it even easier for companies to connect with potential customers through new advertising formats, including a new type of ad that will bring people into contact with companies through Messenger. With Messenger it will also be easier to book appointments with companies within a conversation.
Company catalogue in Whatsapp.
People and companies are discovering that WhatsApp is a great way to connect. In the coming months, people will be able to see a corporate catalog directly in WhatsApp when they chat with the official profile of a company. With catalogs, companies will be able to showcase their products so people can easily discover them.
People come to Facebook to connect with friends and family, but over time this platform has become something more – it’s also a place to connect with people who share the same interests and passions. Facebook is working to put groups at the heart of this social media experience and make available new ways the platform can help bring people together offline.
New design for Facebook, mobile and desktop.
FB5, a new design for Facebook that is simpler, faster, more engaging and focuses on communities, is now being distributed. Overall, it has been made easier for users to find what they are looking for and access the features they use most. Some users have already started to see some of these updates in the Facebook app and the new design will also arrive on the desktop in the coming months.
The redesigned Facebook design makes it easy for people to switch from public to private spaces, such as Groups. There are now tens of millions of groups active on Facebook. When people find the right community, it often becomes the most significant part of how they use Facebook. Today more than 400 million people on Facebook belong to a group they find significant. That’s why new tools are being introduced that will make it easier for users to discover and interact with groups of people who share the same interests.
– The Groups tab has been redesigned to facilitate the discovery of new communities: Facebook has completely redesigned the Groups tab and made the discovery of new communities even more interesting. The ‘Groups’ tab now shows a personalised feed of activities for all the groups it belongs to. And the new group discovery tool offers improved tips so you can quickly find groups you might be interested in.
– It’s now easier to join groups: Facebook is making it easier to get relevant group advice elsewhere in the app, such as in the Marketplace, Today In, the Games tab and Facebook Watch. You could then start to see more content from the groups you are subscribed to in your personal news feed. In addition, you can share content directly from the groups via News Feed, the same way you do with friends and family.
– New features to support specific communities: different communities have different needs, so Facebook is introducing new features for different types of groups. Through the new health support groups, members can send questions and share information without their name appearing on a post. Working groups will have a new template for employers to post ads and easier methods for jobseekers to send messages to the employer. Game groups will have a new chat feature so members can create discussions for different topics within the group. And because people use Facebook Live to sell items in ‘Buy & Sell’ groups, Facebook is exploring new ways to allow buyers to easily ask questions and place orders without leaving the live broadcast.
Link with Your Secret Crush.
On Facebook Dating, you can choose to discover potential matches within your Facebook communities: events, groups, friends of friends and others. Until now it was available in Colombia, Thailand, Canada, Argentina and Mexico but from today it arrives in 14 new countries: Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana and Suriname.
Facebook is also introducing the new feature called Your Secret Crush. Facebook said that people believe there is an opportunity to explore potential romantic relationships within their circle of friends. So, users who choose to use Secret Crush can create a secret list with up to nine Facebook friends they find interesting. People on this list who also use their Facebook Dating will be notified that someone has a crush on them. If the interest is reciprocated a connection is activated, otherwise not.
A way to meet new friends.
Facebook has created Meet New Friends to help people make friends with new people from the same community they belong to, such as a school, a job or a city. It’s optional, so users will only see other people willing to meet new friends. Facebook has started testing Meet New Friends in a few cities before eventually implementing it on a large scale.
Shipments from the Marketplace.
People will soon be able to ship Marketplace items anywhere in the continental United States and pay for their purchases directly on Facebook. For sellers, this means reaching out to more buyers and being paid for safely, and for buyers, it expands their chances of buying items near or far.
New Events tab.
This summer the new Events tab will be introduced so you can see what’s happening nearby with respect to where you are, get advice, discover local businesses and coordinate with friends to make plans to be together.
Instagram brings new ways for people to connect with each other.
The possibility to buy from the creators.
From May, some Instagram users will be able to buy from the following accounts without leaving Instagram. Instead of making a screenshot or asking for product details in comments or via Direct, users can simply touch the item of interest to them on the screen to see exactly what it is, and eventually buy it. Anyone in the global community will be able to buy from the creators. The functionality will first be tested from mid-May, then it will be implemented for everyone over time.
Fundraising to support lawsuits.
It is now possible to start raising funds for a non-profit directly on Instagram. Through the appropriate ‘Donations’ Stories stickers you can support a fundraiser and mobilise your community around a cause, with 100% of the money raised through Instagram being allocated to the non-profit supported. This sticker is now available in the United States but Instagram plans to extend it to more countries in the coming months.
New and improved camera.
In the coming weeks, Instagram will introduce a new design for the in-app camera that includes the Create mode, which offers an easy way to share without photos or videos. This new camera will make it easier to use popular creative tools such as effects and interactive stickers, so you can express yourself more freely.
Facebook is developing technology on how to interact naturally with people through virtual and augmented reality. A number of new ways have been announced to help people connect more deeply in video calls via the intelligent Portal displays – which are coming to Europe – and pre-orders for Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S have been opened.
Portal expands internationally this fall.
Starting with an initial expansion from the US to Canada, Portal and Portal+ will be available in Europe in the fall. They are the intelligent speakers of Facebook, with display and Alexa.
Whatsapp and video calls but not only on Portal.
WhatsApp will arrive in Portal and end-to-end encryption will arrive at all calls, so you can call all friends who use WhatsApp – or Messenger – on their Portal or on their phone. This summer there will be new ways to connect to Portal. Users will be able to say “Hey Portal, Good morning” to receive updates on birthdays, events and more. The ability to send private video messages from the Portal will also be added. And, thanks to the collaboration with Amazon, additional visual features and Alexa skills will be added, including Flash Briefings, intelligent home control and the Amazon Prime Video app by the end of the year. You can also use Facebook Live on the Portal, so you can share special moments with your closest friends in real time.
Oculus Quest and Rift S – open pre-orders.
The two new virtual reality viewers – Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S – will be on sale from May 21. Oculus Quest, Oculus’s first all-in-one VR game system, allows you to play almost anywhere without being tied to a PC. Both cost as little as $399 and can be booked on oculus.com. In addition, the new Oculus for Business will be launched before the end of the year.