The 3 biggest announcements from Facebook’s F8 conference

On Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg and several other Facebook executives took the stage to speak to a group of developers gathered in San Francisco for its annual F8 event.

Image Source: Facebook Developer News
Although rarely as exciting as an Apple keynote or even Microsoft’s Build Developer Conference (on a good year), Facebook’s F8 event is when users of the most popular social network on the planet have a chance to see what features and updates the company plans to bring to the platform in the coming months.

The first announcement of the day was one of the least surprising: Facebook is introducing tools for developers to build bots in Facebook Messenger, allowing users to interact with businesses on the network in a more meaningful way.

During the on-stage presentation, Zuckerberg showed how a CNN bot could send stories to a user that would begin to fall in line with their personal interests over time. Users will also be able to start a conversation with a business like 1-800-FLOWERS in the Messenger app to place an order, rather than having to pick up a phone or go through an automated form online.

Next, Facebook revealed a login tool called Account Kit, which allows developers to give users the ability to sign in to their Facebook accounts with just a phone number or an email address. No password necessary.

“Most people find remembering passwords difficult, so Account Kit gives people the option to log into new apps with just a few taps using only their phone number or email address,” Facebook explains on its Developer News hub. “There’s no need for a username and password. People can use Account Kit without sharing any information from their Facebook profile—they don’t even need a Facebook account to use it. By removing these major barriers to entry, Account Kit helps you increase your sign-ups and expand your audience.”

Video also played a major part in today’s keynote, with the company announcing a new API that will let developers build live-streaming video into their apps and products. Two examples that Facebook showed off on stage were an interactive game show from BuzzFeed and a DJI drone that was streaming live on Facebook even while flying dozens of feet in the air.

Those were easily the three most eye-catching announcements at the event on Tuesday, but Facebook had several other reveals worth mentioning:

  • Save to Facebook button for web that could make Pocket and Instapaper obsolete
  • The ability to share quotes to Facebook directly from a web page
  • Profile expression kit, which give users more options when creating a video profile picture

Not quite as earth-shattering as the other announcements, but interesting nonetheless. Facebook’s F8 developer conference will continue through Wednesday.
By Jacob Siegal /

Facebook's Biggest Product Announcements From F8 Conference

Facebook's annual F8 conference is like looking into a crystal ball to see what Facebook will look like later this year or even a decade from now.
Facebook chief and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg unveils the option of building chat bots that let software have one-on-one natural language exchanges with people in San Francisco on April 12, 2016.
Today marks the second and final day of the conference in San Francisco. Although it's geared toward developers, F8 often yields new insight about the future direction of Facebook.

Here are some of the most noteworthy announcements we've seen so far from F8.

Chat Bots

Get ready to make friends with a bunch of chat bots.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Messenger Platform at the start of the company's annual F8 developer's conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. The new service is a framework powered by artificial intelligence, allowing developers to build chat bots that can communicate one on one with users in a conversational tone. The more use, the more personalized a bot can be in serving a user.

Zuckerberg showed how people can use the 1-800-FLOWERS chat bot to find the perfect bouquet and have it sent, all without leaving Messenger.

"You probably interact with dozens of businesses every day ... but I’ve never met anyone who likes calling a business and no one wants to install an app for every business or service they want to interact with," Zuckerberg said.

Live Video

Facebook is opening up its API for live video that's application program interface, basically the foundation that makes it easier to develop a program so users can stream live video from various objects. Zuckerberg demonstrated this development by showing live video being streamed to Facebook from a drone that flew in the auditorium.

Account Kit

What if you didn't have to deal with a password? Account Kit will give users the choice to log into new apps using just a phone number or email address. The new feature could help developers reach new audiences with their apps, according to Facebook.


Facebook's internet-beaming drone made its debut at F8 last year, but Zuckerberg brought it up again when discussing Facebook's ten-year roadmap and his ambition to help bring connectivity to the 4 billion people around the world who live without it.

"If you had told me Facebook was going to build a plane I would have told you you were crazy," he said. The idea is for Aquila, which Zuckerberg said weighs less than a small car, will fly at an altitude of 60,000 feet and stay airborne for several months at a time.

Artificial Intelligence

Facebook's AI is smart enough to describe photos to visually impaired people, an update that was rolled out earlier this month. Zuckerberg said the company's AI technology is capable of doing everything from organizing a person's Newsfeed to analyzing a photo of a mole to determine if it could be cancerous.