Facebook opened its mostly-annual F8 developer conference yesterday, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave a keynote speech to make some big announcements, such as the introduction of Messenger bots, and lay out a 10-year roadmap.
His presentation lasted just over 30 minutes, but here we give you the entire run down on the initiatives and product ideas he revealed.
Consider this your one-stop shop to discover everything Zuckerberg said during his keynote. You can still watch it yourself below, but we've also sifted through the hordes of marketing lingo to uncover the bits worth knowing.
Facebook F8: Watch the keynote here
You can also check out the F8 video page to see more videos from the social network's developer conference.
Facebook F8: What's new with Facebook?
Facebook Messenger Bots
Facebook announced new tools for developers that will allow them to build bots for Facebook Messenger, thus adding a whole new array of functions to the messaging app. Facebook has envisioned a future where you use Messenger to interact with businesses and vice versa. Bots can even blend artificial intelligence with human interaction.
The idea is that you'll go to Messenger for customer support or to get your news or to order flowers. In a demo at F8, Zuckerberg showed bots from CNN and 1-800-Flowers. The CNN bot sent users a daily digest of news stories that be tailored over time, while the Flowers bot showed how you can order using conversational language.
The CEO said the Facebook Messenger app was the social network's fastest-growing platform in 2015, as it now has more than 900 million monthly active users. He also said activity on Facebook Messenger and the Facebook-owned WhatsApp combined is three times the global volume of SMS messages. They handle 60 billion messages a day, compared to 20 billion texts.
To go along with the Bots for Messenger announcement, Zuckerberg noted Messenger is the second most popular app on iOS globally, and that there are 500 million businesses using it with over a billion messages sent every month.
David Marcus, head of Messenger, announced that the beta version of Messenger Platform went live on 12 April, meaning developers could immediately get started on creating bots for the app.
READ MORE: Learn more about Messenger Platform from Facebook's blog post
Facebook Surround 360
Facebook unveiled a reference design for a video capture system and announced it would release the design as an open-source project on GitHub. The design, called Facebook Surround 360, uses a 17-camera array, including 14 wide-angle cameras as well as three fish-eye ones at the top and bottom. It also uses web-based software.
The cameras and software work together to capture 360-degree images and automatically render them. The rig also uses a global shutter instead of a rolling one. Facebook is marketing Surround 360 as the best 360-degree camera, emphasising it can work "many hours" without overheating and exports video in resolution up to 8K.
Media from the rig can be viewed with Gear VR, Oculus Rift, and the Facebook app. Keep in mind other companies have introduced 360-degree cameras of their own, such as Nokia and GoPro. The latter offers a $15,000 rig that touts 16 cameras. It was made with Google and went on sale in September.
It'll cost about $30,000 to build a Surround 360. Facebook said it has no plans to become a camera manufacturer itself, however.
Live from any device
Facebook recently revamped Live video with new tools and has been pushing the live-broadcasting feature, so of course the company used F8 to announce expansion plans. It's opening up a Live API so developers and manufacturers can build in the ability to Facebook Live stream from any device.
At the conference, Zuckerberg demoed a DJI drone with built-in Facebook Live video and said it will be streaming live video from the developer conference over the next two days.
READ MORE: Here's how Facebook Live works
Facebook F8: What is Facebook's 10-year roadmap?
During F8, Zuckerberg laid out Facebook's 10-year roadmap, which includes everything it is building. It announced new technology like Messenger Bots, opened up the Live API, and said it's building planes and satellites that will connect everyone to the internet. Its solar-powered planes feature carbon fibre engines and can beam down internet signals.
As for its internet satellites, which work similarly to the planes, Zuckerberg said the first one will be launched in Sub-Saharan Africa soon. Facebook made it seem like it really wants to make sure everyone across the world has access to the internet, as the company has a three-prong approach to connectivity: availability, affordability and awareness.
AR, VR, and AI
Facebook then touched upon augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. It noted current Facebook products use artificial intelligence to help users interact with services more easily. Moments, for example, has facial-recognition software, while News Feed uses AI to smartly surface the stories that matter most to you.
Even Messenger uses AI to filter spam from messages you want to read (see this piece to learn more about that). Facebook further highlighted how far it has come with AI and said it will open-source its Torch modules so that everyone, including developers, can leverage its advances in the space in order to make faster progress together.
In the future, Zuckerberg thinks AI could be used by doctors to more accurately diagnose diseases, such as skin cancer, from a simple photo. The CEO also imagined what the future of VR and AR might look like, claiming one day a single pair of normal-looking glasses could be able to provide both experiences, seamlessly.
He even suggested television displays will one day be a thing of the past, as you'll simply wear AR/VR glasses and buy a $1 app in the app store to view content. Keep in mind Facebook bought Oculus VR and recently began shipping the consumer edition of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to those who placed pre-orders. Albeit with several delays.
Facebook also announced it will release the Rift's touch controllers later this year so that your hands can enter the VR experience and let you modify the world around you. It also demoed an early social experience that showed two people interacting and playing with each other in a virtual world.
Pocket-lint has tried that demo a couple of times. You can read about it in our Oculus Rift extensive preview here.