Facebooks annual F8 developer conference starts Wednesday, which is where the company unveils new tools for developers and lays out its goals for the year ahead.
We don’t know exactly what Facebook will announce, but based on reports and leaks, we can put together a picture of what the company may talk about later today.
The opening keynote for F8 starts at 10 a.m. PT/ 1 p.m. ET, and Business Insider will be there covering the event live.
Here’s what we’re expecting:
- Messenger as a platform. Facebook might make announcements around its Messenger app, which its expected to expand into an entire platform rather than just a messenger offshoot of its main app. The official F8 app accidentally sent a notification to attendees this morning detailing what to expect at the conference, and “Messenger as a platform” was specifically mentioned. So what does this mean? Essentially, Facebook would want you to be able to do a ton of things within Facebook Messenger so that you never have to leave the app. Facebook could announce support for third-party developers to incorporate their services within Facebook Messenger to make this possible. This is how Chinese messaging app WeChat already works — you can book a hotel room, buy movie tickets, and pay your phone bill all within the app.
- Real news articles in the News Feed. The New York Times reported that Facebook could be working on a content partnership with publications such as The New York Times and Buzzfeed to publish content directly to the News Feed rather than linking out. This would keep Facebook patrons from leaving the platform to read stories that interest them. Facebook could be planning a similar deal for editorial videos, according to The Information, letting companies like Vice and Vox create videos that would appear directly in the Newsfeed. If this turns out to be true, there’s a chance we’ll hear about it today.
- A big focus on adtech. Facebook acquired startup LiveRail last year, which is a service that lets developers sell video ad space. There’s been speculation that LiveRail could start auctioning off video ad space to other companies, which could put it in competition with Google’s ad exchange and Twitter’s MoPub, as CNBC notes. It’s possible that Facebook could talk about its plans for LiveRail later today.
- Oculus Rift demos or announcements. Facebook acquired Oculus VR for $US2 billion exactly one year ago, but we’re still not sure exactly what the company’s intentions are. The accidental notification Facebook sent out to F8 attendees also mentioned a “Teleportation Station,” which means it could be exploring ways to virtually travel with the Oculus Rift. When Facebook bought Oculus, CEO Mark Zuckerberg mentioned that he sees virtual reality as the future of computing. And that seems like it could really have potential for a social platform like Facebook. Why type a message to someone or dial a phone number when you can share an experience with them through virtual reality? Judging by that line of thinking, a “teleportation station” doesn’t sound too far off from what Facebook could be planning for the Oculus Rift.
- Support for Internet of Things. The accidental notification also mentioned “Parse for IoT,” which is in reference to Facebook’s building platform. It sounds like the company could be expanding Parse into IoT, or Internet of Things, which would make it compatible with smart household appliances.