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Facebook Spaces VR App, Messenger Platform 2.0, More Debuts at F8

At the F8 on Tuesday, Facebook made a number of announcements acroos the line of their products and services.

Facebook Spaces for Oculus Rift, is a new beta VR app that help in connecting with friends in a fun, interactive virtual environment.

To get started with Spaces, just create an identity for people to recognize you by choosing one of your Facebook photos, then select from one of the array of options for your VR appearance, then customize by changing eye color, hairstyle, facial features and more until it feels just right to you.

Facebook Spaces Indentity
Facebook Spaces Indentity

Once you’re done with identity, invite your friends. To bring more people into VR space, you can phone a friend with Messenger video calling, in turn, they can answer call and open a windows into their phone to instantly join you.

Facebook Spaces: Invite Friends
Facebook Spaces: Invite Friends

Then using a virtual marker create anything in the air, from a decorative hat to a handmade tic-tac-toe board. Alongwith friends, you can also relive personal memories from Timelines, or even make new ones as you explore rich variety of content in VR including 360 videos and photos as well as things that interest you from people and Pages you follow.

Facebook Spaces: Draw in air
Facebook Spaces: Draw in air
Experience VR in facebook Spaces
Experience VR in facebook Spaces

You can take photos of your experience through the selfie stick.

Of course, you’ve full control of VR space, including ability to pause at any time, mute friends or remove them from your space.

Messenger Platform 2.0, a new suite of tools that brings the ability to build richer experiences, get discovered, and extend conversational, visual and social capabilities of bots debuted as well.

“With more than 1.2 billion monthly users and over 100,000 monthly active bots, we are focused on learning and building for our developers,” writes the team.

New features in the Messenger includes:

Discover tab, rolling out to few people in the U.S. help find recently used bots, popular experiences and a free-form search field right from the home screen.

Messenger codes (or parametric QR codes) will enable people whenever they are out and about at events to be able to find out more from Messenger bot, just by simply scanning the code in the Messenger camera.

Chat extensions enable multiple people to chat with same business at the same time by just adding a bot directly in a group thread and share the conversation and experience.

M, the virtual assistant powered by artificial intelligence, now makes suggestions in conversations, theese include fun stickers, a reminder to meet up with a friend, or an easy way to pay someone back or get paid via peer-to-peer payments.

Rich Gameplay (turn-by-turn games) making gaming even more fun alongwith new game bots—you can now challenge friends to a game in Messenger by tapping Games tab on Messenger home screen.

Facebook also rolled out developers and businesses specific features such as:

  • Smart Replies for Pages powered by AI bot engine, provide the ability to respond to most frequently asked questions, such as business hours, directions and contact details—-as businesses can create an AI-powered responder to these types of FAQs through Wit.ai API.
  • Parametric Messenger Codes: Businesses are now able to generate multiple parametric QR codes for one bot, offering their customers more choice.
  • Hand-over Protocol provide a way for businesses to work with multiple developers for different experiences on Messenger. Different vendors and developers will be able to manage the conversation for the use case the customer is requesting.
  • Connecting people across apps and Messenger bots. Today, bots in Messenger use Page-Scoped ID (PSID) and apps use App-Scoped ID (ASID), which creates two different IDs for the same person across your various communication channels. If you have an existing customer in Facebook and want to personalize your communication with them in Messenger, this API pairs the ASIDs and PSIDs between an app and a bot in Messenger belonging to the same business.

In another developers targeted update, Facebook announces features focused on Instant Games, Gameroom and Gaming Video.

Instant Games, an HTML5 cross-platform gaming experience with more than 1.5B games played across Messenger and News Feed within the last 90 days—today introduces rich gameplay features, that give developers more control of gaming experiences they create with new APIs.

Instant Games on Messenger

New games tab, make it even easier for players to discover games. Additionally, developers will be able to leverage game bots to create engaging ways for players to connect to their games through actions they take directly within a Messenger chat — even when they are not playing!

Gameroom—a closed beta of the new “Gameroom platform SDK” that offer flexibility to port games built in a variety of engines, including Unreal Engine, cocos2d and more.

New Games Feed in Gameroom offers players a continuously updating list of stories that are 100 percent focused on games-related content.

Platform partners using Live API will soon have an ability to share directly to Groups. “With XSplit – a live streaming and video-mixing application by SplitmediaLabs.”

Augmented Reality with Camera Effects Platform

Harness the power of augmented reality with “Camera Effects Platform,” turns smartphone cameras into AR platform with two creative tools included in, ‘Frame Studio” and ‘AR Studio,” that give community power to create camera effects to connect art with data to bring AR into everyday life through the Facebook camera.

Frame Studio, a web-based tool allows anyone with a profile or Page to design frames for use on profile pictures or in Facebook camera. These frames will then appear in the cameras of friends or Page fans, as well as in the final posts in News Feed, alongside creator’s name.

AR Studio, authoring tool in closed beta for Mac, enables artists and developers to build AR experiences such as animated frames, masks, and interactive effects that respond to motion, interactions during Live broadcasts, or third-party data.

Once approved, they’ll be available in Facebook camera for use with photos, videos or Live broadcasts.

key features of AR Studio include:

  • Face Tracker is a real-time computer vision algorithm that tracks the face and allows the creator to make masks that fit and respond to facial movements without writing a line of code.
  • Sensor data is used to allow developers to create effects where people can move their phone to pan around a virtual world.
  • Scripting APIs allow developers to access and download data, respond to user interactions, and modify the effect in real time.

Also, new effects created with AR Studio are now available in Facebook Live: This or That and GIPHY Live.

AR Studio This or That in Facebook Live

Those interested can apply for the beta here.

Developer Circles, is a community-driven forums to share knowledge, collaborate, build new ideas, and learn about the latest technologies from Facebook and other industry leaders.

  • With Developer Circles, in addition to hosting meetups and hackathons, each local circle will have a dedicated Facebook Group where members can continue conversation between meetups.
  • In Facebook Groups, developers can share code, links, videos, and anything else they would already share on Facebook.
  • partnering with Udacity, one of the largest online training platforms in the world, to launch custom Facebook training programs for our Developer Circles community, which will be available via Developer Circles Facebook Groups, our website, and on Udacity.

To join, simply head to: developers.facebook.com/developercircles.

Facebook Login and Account Kit product enhancements helps better connect with people and engage them across different surfaces. Also introduced today, new ways to retain and recover customer accounts to maintain those relationships.

Facebook Login, already support surfaces – Facebook Lite, Chrome Custom tabs and TV. And, Instant Verification for Account Kit phone number login to remove friction from registration and to reduce reliance on SMS in areas where this is less reliable.

Today, the following features are made available:

Voice call verification to Account Kit in 19 locales to help people who don’t receive confirmation code via SMS.

Basic Web SDK support in Account Kit helps building an experience for parts of the world where browsers without Javascript support are popular.

Account Kit UI customization for you to create a look and feel aligned with your brand. Start by simply choosing a skin and tint information, supplying a primary color, and adding an optional background image.

Facebook Account UI Kit customization

Improved Facebook Login buttons now offer customizable widths on web that read: “Continue as [name]”. This is available today on our JS SDK which will render the person’s profile picture and name if they are logged into Facebook, and default to “Continue with Facebook” if they are not. Pinterest has seen a 37% lift in Facebook sign-ups since implementing the new button on their desktop experience.

Also login buttons in native and JS SDKs are now comes with rounded corners, a color update, and option to select “Continue with Facebook” or “Login with Facebook”. To use new Login buttons, simply upgrade native SDK or JS SDK.

Improved Facebook Login buttons

More insights that will help you better understand how people are moving through your Account Kit sign-in flow within the Facebook Analytics dashboard.

Connecting with People Across Apps and Bots on Messenger

  • You can now recognize a Facebook-connected customer from your app to your bot on Messenger to create better customer experiences across the two channels. The details can be found in our developer documentation.
  • This will help people have more delightful experiences like a movie-going night where everything from watching a trailer, buying tickets, to getting into the theatre can all be handled on your phone.

    Express Login for Android apps, lets you check if the person signing in had previously done so using Facebook. If so, they are shown an in-app reminder to bypass going through the full sign-in flow.

    Delegated Account Recovery, offer customers option to use their Facebook account as a way to verify who they’re when they forget their password, lose their two-factor codes, or don’t want to answer security questions based on personal information.

    Facebook Analytics gets Pages support and launches Automated Insights, making it easier than ever to draw valuable insights from your data.

    Omni-channel analytics for Pages interactions, such as post reactions and shares, so you can measure and understand interactions people have with Page alongside their other activity on your website, app, and bot.

    Omni-channel analytics for Facebook Pages
    Omni-channel analytics for Facebook Pages

    Also, you can now see how people’s online interactions translate to “in-store purchases” with “offline conversions.”

    Automated insights in open beta, using advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence, brings you insights such as changes in purchases for a new version of app, or variations in engagement across people in different cities.

    Facebook Automated Insights
    Facebook Automated Insights

    Custom dashboards in open beta help quickly pin your most important reports in one place, so you and your team can keep an eye on everything at a glance.

    Some other enhancements include:

    • Create streamlined event source groups directly from dashboard, making it straightforward to set up omni-channel analytics by combining your different event sources such as pixels, apps, and Pages.
    • Create omni-channel custom audiences based on people’s behavior across your app, website and bot, such as people who viewed an item on both your e-commerce store and your native shopping app.
    • User properties for web provides you with additional segmentation criteria based on things you know, such as a customer’s frequent flyer status.

    To get started with analytics, check out this quickstart guide.

    The Graph API, that serves an average of 1.2 trillion API requests per day and powers some of Facebook’s most popular products including Messenger and Instagram—today, a new version of the Graph API v2.9, simplifie development, making it even easier to build apps and experiences with Facebook is launched.

    Features in this release included are:

    • Places Graph, that created Search, Current Place, and Place Information endpoints, ties query limits to the size of your customer base and is integrated with the Facebook SDK so that it’s easy to get started and scale quickly.
    • Enhanced URL engagement metrics are now split into four distinct counts: reactions, comments, shares, and comments plugin. You’ll be able to see engagement counts for your URLs as they are used across Facebook.
    • Video API introduces new endpoints for Crossposted Videos, “a video reused in multiple posts without sharing or uploading again.” This new APIs support identifying and modifying crossposting relationships between Pages and modifying crossposting permissions for specific videos.
    • Updates to Webhooks adds versioning so developers can opt-in to new Webhooks features as they become available. “Webhooks is Facebook’s subscription-based push service for apps.”
    • The version can be specify from Webhooks product tab in the app dashboard, where you can send sample updates for testing. Even you can test updates with different version than that of your current subscription and assist in upgrading to future versions. Furthermore, User topic updates can include additional relevant fields to reduce the need to fetch them from the Graph API.
    • With a new API endpoint, you can now connect a Facebook customer from your app to your Messenger Bot to create better customer experiences across these two channels.
    • With Read-After-Write calls support eliminates making a separate call to read an object after writing it. Simply specify a fields parameter to indicate which fields should be returned in the response, just as you would do on a read request.
    • Page Insights update now get you aggregated daily minutes viewed for all videos on a Page, as well as Page activity such as post comments and shares is now available in Facebook Analytics, to measure audience’s interactions with Page alongside other activity on your website, app, and more.
    • Marketing API, enhances features for Ads Creation and Management, Dynamic Ads, and Targeting.

    Workplace, a dedicated and secure space for companies to connect, communicate and collaborate, today, received new integrations for Files, Bots, Compliance, and Live Video.

    Organizations of all sizes can use familiar Facebook features such as News Feed, groups, messages and events to get work done. 14,000 businesses are using Workplace, on every continent including Antarctica.

    New integrations with some of the world’s leading enterprise cloud services including: OneDrive, Office 365, box, Salesforce, Dropbox, and Quip, make it easier to share, preview and organize files, documents, and work with customer records.

    Staring today, Workplace customers can build custom Workflows with Bots that allow people to interact with other tools and services from within Workplace in groups as well as in chat.

    In groups, @mention a bot to initiate a task or workflow and reply back with relevant information. In chat, message a bot to request information or take an action. Bots can also start conversations to send you important notifications.

    Here is an example of a bot a company could build to log a repair:

    Security and compliance integrations with several of the industry’s leading cloud compliance, e-discovery and data loss prevention providers. Companies with more specific business requirements can now subscribe to webhooks to manage activity on Workplace in real-time.

    Workplace Live API offers support for streaming Live into Workplace over RTMP. Because the Workplace Live API is based on the Facebook Live API, it’s already supported by a wide range of hardware and software encoders.

    Lastly, Live Production Partners announced today, bring deep expertise in producing professional quality live streams.

    Head over to facebook.com/workplace and get started with Workplace today.

    Update 04/21: On day two, Facebook introduced the newest designs for the Surround 360 technology that allows people to produce amazing high quality videos for VR.

    The new x24 and its smaller counterpart, x6, create some of the most immersive and engaging content ever shot for VR and lets lets you move around within the video scene and experience the content from different viewing angles.

    “This means you can move your head around in the world and see it from different angles — what’s known as six degrees of freedom, or 6DoF — bringing the feeling of immersion and depth to a whole new level,” writes facebook.

    x24 and x6 Surround 360 Cameras
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