On Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stage at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center to deliver his keynote speech at the company’s annual F8 developer conference.
There was a lot to talk about. As Zuck mentioned in his opening statements: “This has been an intense year.”
Last year’s conference promised that Facebook would plug our brains into the internet, and suck our social lives into virtual reality. This year was slightly less ambitious, but still filled with plenty of goodies.
The company announced what we expected, and dropped a few (but not many) surprises. Mostly, it promised to bring us more ways to use the apps, websites, and hardware we know and love.
Here are the highlights:
1) It’s launching a dating service
That’s right, Facebook is creating a dating service.
Here’s how it’ll work: You’ll create a “dating profile” that’s totally separate from your Facebook profile, but still connected to your account. Facebook will show you potential matches based on mutual friends, dating preferences, and interests, as well as mutual Groups and Events.
You’ll be able to chat with potential matches in a chat app that’s separate from Messenger. Don’t get too excited, creepy dudes: it’s text-only.
And if you’re looking for a fling, stick to Tinder. “This is going to be for building real long-term relationships, not hookups,” Zuckerberg explained in his keynote.
2) AR camera effects are coming to brands on Facebook Messenger
Facebook announced that brands can now integrate augmented reality features into their messaging bots. For example, Sephora’s bot could help you virtually try on different makeup, or Ikea could make virtual furniture appear in your living room.
Currently, only Kia, Nike, Sephora, and Asus have such bots, but Facebook plans to, at some point in the future, make the feature more widely available.
3) Instagram is adding video chat
Instagram also got some love at F8. The company announced a number of small updates including a new way for users to share content from third-party apps directly to Stories, and a redesigned Explore tab.
The big news, however, is video chat. You’ll soon be able to chat with up to three friends in the Instagram Direct portion of the app. You know, in case you’re not a fan of Facebook, Skype, FaceTime, or whatever the kids are using these days.
And the best part: You can minimize the video chat and continue to browse Instagram if your friends get too boring, without dropping out of the conversation.
5) WhatsApp is adding group video calls
Instagram’s not the only app that’s taking on FaceTime. WhatsApp also announced that it is adding a group video calling feature sometime in the coming months.
WhatsApp has featured both one-on-one video chat and group texts for years so, needless to say, this feature was long overdue.
The app also introduced its own version of Stickers. You know those obnoxious but adorable Pusheens your little brother sends you on Messenger? Yeah, those are on their way to WhatsApp.
6) Facebook is making it easier to manage your privacy settings
In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica controversy, users have been waiting for a way to stop Facebook from tracking their every move.
An upcoming Clear History feature, which will allow you to easily delete your browsing data from Facebook’s servers, might do the trick.
Clear history will also allow you to opt out of data collection altogether. Facebook may still anonymously collect your browsing data, but won’t be able to trace it back to you.
According to Zuck, Clear History is “something privacy advocates have been asking for — and we will work with them to make sure we get it right.”
7) Oculus Go is a cheap, new virtual reality headset for everyone
Facebook announced that its $199 standalone Oculus Go headset is now on sale sale. The starting $199 gets you 32GB of on-board storage for apps, games, and experiences, and $249 gets you 64GB.
Oculus also announced a partnership with toy company Hasbro to offer board games in VR. So if you just can’t wait to play Boggle with your friend on the other side of the world, the Oculus Go might be for you.