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Facebook F8 Conference: Reality - Virtual or Augmented?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Photo credit: Ksayer1 via VisualHunt /  CC BY-SA

Last week, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, took centre stage at the annual two-day F8 Conference to announce some interesting, mind-melting, ideas currently in development. Facebook has been under pressure recently with a general feeling that they've lost their innovative spark, they recycle ideas (Snapchat, anyone?) and their user base is beginning to decline but this year's keynote address definitely put a stop to this way of thinking.

Some developments may come as no big surprise. With VR on the rise in the gaming industry already, it seems only logical to apply the technology to social media - and Facebook Spaces will blaze the trail. More exciting is the further exploration of AR where virtual objects can be placed into real-world context, opening the door to new communication possibilities. VR provides exciting opportunities for travel and tourism, whilst AR is a potential gold mine for retail and food and drink. Just think - "try before you buy" could have a whole new meaning... 

The introduction of Chat Extensions, using group chatbots, will allow brands to connect more easily with their target audiences. Imagine having a group Messenger chat with friends about where to meet for a quick pint, and Hoppy the friendly Porterhouse bot chimes in with a recommendation on a craft pub you might like that's just 10 minutes away. He'll show you their drinks list, opening hours and even book you a table for dinner, if you want... 

Of the innovations announced, these are our favourites, but you can watch the full keynote address here. Be warned - you'll never look at your smartphone in the same way again.

Sharon Fealy

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