Dating and VR: New Facebook features continue bid for world domination

22 May – 2018

So, what new Facebook features can you expect to see over the next year? Keep reading for our guide.

Improved security high on the agenda

Considering the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, it’s no surprise that improved security is built into the new Facebook features.

In his keynote speech to the conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg tackled the issues head on, saying “What happened was a major breach of trust. An app developer took data that people had shared with him and sold it. We need to make sure that this never happens again.”

Facebook are now planning to roll out a ‘Clear History’ feature that will allow users to opt out of sharing the browser history data that Facebook uses to sell ads. Facebook say that this new feature will ‘remove identifying information so a history of the websites and apps’ a user has used won’t be associated with their account. Expect this to go live in the next few months.

WhatsApp getting ready for business

Since buying WhatsApp, Facebook hasn’t made huge changes to the messaging service. That is set to change as the company starts trying to commercialise the platform.

WhatsApp already supports chatbots and it is now opening up to any business who wants to use social channels to engage with their customers. Businesses will be able to access a suite of tools to enable group calls and custom stickers, both features that will be new to the messaging app.

Facebook’s Messenger app is also getting some new features. Perhaps the most exciting is the news that companies will now be able to use the Camera Effects Platform to integrate augmented reality (AR) into their Messenger experience. This can help customers to visualise a product or service before buying it and therefore shorten the length of the path to purchase.

In addition, the new M Translations feature will offer real-time translation between English and Spanish to let businesses connect with potential customers from around the world.

Instagram gets a makeover

The F8 conference also saw the announcement of some new features to Facebook-owned Instagram.

Over the next few weeks the app will start to offer video chat, supporting both one-on-one and group chats. Users will have the option to minimise the video and continue the chat while doing other things on Instagram.

In addition, users will now also be able to post content from apps like Spotify and GoPro directly to Stories. “Just tap the share button in the Spotify or GoPro app and your content is pulled directly into the Instagram camera,” Facebook said in a statement. “From there you can edit and add to your story or send it via Direct. You don’t have to connect your Instagram account to other apps in order to share to Stories.”

Meet the love of your life on Facebook

“There are 200 million people on Facebook that list themselves as single, so clearly there’s something to do here,” said Zuckerberg in his keynote speech. So, the company has announced it’s moving into online dating – but only if you’re searching for a meaningful relationship.

The service will have strict privacy controls which will let users hide their dating profile from friends and from their newsfeed. Even messaging potential dates will be via a separate, secure service not linked to Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram.

Affordable Virtual Reality set to be the ‘next big thing’

With over 1,000 apps already supported, Oculus Go is Facebook’s move into VR. The company announced its new VR headset will cost just $199 (around £150) and will feature market-leading optical lenses.

Alongside the headset comes Oculus TV, a channel featuring VR content from partners including Netflix, Showtime and ESPN, and Oculus Venus, a VR streaming service for events such as live football matches or concerts.

Currently, our Interior Design and Architecture team use CAD and 3D renders to visualise new spaces for clients. Adding the possibility of using VR to give clients a virtual walkthrough of their space could revolutionise design. Exciting times!