Get ready for a feed full of updates and announcements from Facebook.
The social network’ annual developer conference, F8, kicks off on Tuesday in San Jose, California. There’s likely to be lots of talk about virtual reality, augmented reality, video games, and, of course, data security – an issue that Facebook has been tangled up in since news broke of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Here’s what to expect at this year’s big event.
The conference is geared toward software developers — many whose work relies on data collected by Facebook — so the elephant in the room will inevitably be how the company plans to move forward in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
It has been only a few weeks since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent two days on Capitol Hill answering questions about data security, and the social network still has a lot to answer for.
Zuckerberg’s keynote will be closely watched, though he’s likely to repeat many of the talking points we’ve already heard.
Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, is scheduled to give a presentation titled “Security at Facebook Scale” on the first day of the conference.
Facebook is likely to release the Oculus Go, a standalone VR headset.
The headset is expected to cost about $US200, a steep drop from Facebook’s $US400 Oculus Rift. But unlike the Rift, which supports room-scale location tracking, the Oculus Go is designed for stationary or seated use.
But there may be a lot of other big VR and AR announcements as well.
There are at least nine VR- or AR-related events scheduled over the two-day conference, including “Lessons from the Frontier of Social VR” and “Creating Flagship AR Experiences.”
In February, Facebook’s vice president of consumer hardware, Andrew Bosworth, suggested on Twitter that 2018 could be Facebook’s biggest year for VR yet.
We can also expect an update and roadmap from the team behind Facebook Spaces, the company’s first official VR app that it announced at last year’s F8 conference. It’s expected to be supported by the Oculus Go.
Video games and mobile gaming also have a noticeable presence on the event schedule.
One panel description says: “Join the Instant Games team and one of our most successful developers to learn how to build, grow, and monetise games for a new generation of mobile players.”
Any news related to video games is likely to be connected to Facebook’s new content creation platform, powered by Facebook Live and geared toward professional gamers.
In addition to paying professional gamers, Facebook introduced live tipping and paid subscriptions this year as revenue possibilities for video game streamers.
Facebook’s messaging platforms are massive.
Messenger and WhatsApp each boast more than 1 billion monthly active users.
David Marcus, the head of Messenger, has been a fixture at past F8 events – and with Messenger gaining steam, that’s likely to be the case this year as well.
Facebook is putting a lot of resources into original video series for its Watch channel.
We don’t know much about these yet, and it’s not clear whether Facebook will say more at this year’s F8 conference about original videos.
But Zuckerberg has made it clear that the company is focusing on features that encourage repeated viewing of videos, rather than the high number of views of seemingly random videos on the News Feed.
The future of Facebook’s Building 8 is a wildcard.
Facebook made a splash at last year’s conference with futuristic projects from its Building 8 test lab.
Since then, Building 8’s founding boss, Regina Dugan, has left Facebook.
The company has said Building 8 is not going away, but it will be interesting to see how much stage time – if any – the group gets at this year’s F8 conference.
By the looks of the speech schedule, there could also be big announcements about other initiatives, such as the News Feed or artificial intelligence.
We’ll be covering the keynotes, announcements, and chatter around the conference on Tuesday and Wednesday, so check back for updates.
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