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Google gave us Cardboard – Facebook gave us a science lesson

Google gave us Cardboard – Facebook gave us a science lesson

This week at F8, Facebook presented a basic plan for the next 10 years in development - both inside and outside the social network. Amongst announcements of flying internet drones and updating the Messenger ecosystem, Facebook officials handed off the mic to Oculus. While we expected that Oculus would give us some indicator of the future of the company - or their involvement with Facebook - instead we got a lesson in the science of virtual reality.

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Facebook may push Oculus to consumer hardware

Facebook may push Oculus to consumer hardware

This week Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stood onstage at F8, the social network's developer conference, and spoke about Oculus VR. Zuckerberg showed how 360-degree spherical video would be making its way to Facebook's main news feed with the help of Oculus VR. This same content would be coming to Oculus Rift some time after it'd hit the main news feed. With the Samsung Gear VR (made in collaboration with Oculus VR), the company would also be showing a "Teleportation Station" to give people a glimpse of their offices from a remote location.

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Facebook’s huge solar drone takes the web to the skies

Facebook’s huge solar drone takes the web to the skies

Facebook's internet-spreading drone has successfully completed its first test flight, paving the way to connecting the 3bn people currently without connectivity. The milestone is the handiwork of the Facebook Connectivity Lab, a team set up within the company by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, examining ways to bypass expensive and laborious wireline connections and instead take to the skies to beam the internet down from high altitude. And, while the test vehicle may look small, in actual fact Facebook's achievement is big both in the scale of its ambition and its construction.

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Oculus Rift release in 2015 as real as The Matrix

Oculus Rift release in 2015 as real as The Matrix

This week Michael Abrash, Chief Programmer for Oculus VR, spoke about what virtual reality was, and what it'll be to you in the near future. He made a point to mention Ready Player One and Snow Crash as inspirations to him for the beginnings of Virtual Reality. He also made mention of The Matrix - his one, true inspiration for the way Virtual Reality can be interpreted as. "If you are talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see," he said, quoting Morpheus, "then 'real' is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain."

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Facebook opens React Native for building cross-platform apps

Facebook opens React Native for building cross-platform apps

If you’ve considered developing your own app, you’ve likely found yourself at a crossroads with many avenues for success. Should you develop a native web app, or a web app? Which language should you learn? With so many decisions to make, Facebook is now trying to simplify things for you. Their React Native Library, which they use to develop many of their own apps, is now available on Github. According to Facebook, the library will let you build native Android and iOS apps using Javascript.

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Facebook’s 10 year plan: AI, VR, and the flying web

Facebook’s 10 year plan: AI, VR, and the flying web

Facebook may be best known for providing a route for former schoolfriends to annoy you with their baby photos, but the social site is also looking to bring the next generation of internet users online and give developers the tools to lure them. A combination of virtual reality, vast data centers, newly open-sourced coding tools, and innovative and less expensive web-delivery systems like drones were all on the agenda for Facebook’s second day F8 2015 keynote, along with how to teach an artificial intelligence about Lord of the Rings.

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Facebook F8 2015: here’s what happened on day one

Facebook F8 2015: here’s what happened on day one

Today the 2015 version of Facebook's developer conference, F8 2015 that is, started with notes on IoT, Messenger, and sharing videos. The unveiling of Facebook's near future really started earlier this week with rumor that Facebook Messenger would become a platform and some keen dialer testing. Facebook also suggested (again, earlier this week) that they wanted to host the news, not just link to it. Facebook's "On This Day" also started off with a bang in-line. All came to fruition this morning in California.

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Facebook teleported me and I felt nothing

Facebook teleported me and I felt nothing

Facebook raised a few eyebrows when a premature alert teased teleportation technology at today's F8 conference, but it's really virtual reality that the social network hopes to make its next killer feature. To herald the upcoming support of 360-degree virtual reality content right on your Facebook wall, the company was offering to "teleport" people from San Francisco to the company HQ in Menlo Park, courtesy of an Oculus-powered headset and a whole load of cameras. Still slightly disappointed at having put on my Star Trek uniform for no good reason, I found the reality of 360 VR might not live up to Mark Zuckerberg's enthusiasm, either.

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Facebook’s Internet of Things: Parse for IoT in full effect

Facebook’s Internet of Things: Parse for IoT in full effect

This week Facebook has revealed what they'll be doing with their recently-acquired company Parse. This company creates backend tools for web, mobile and now IoT developers, meaning developers will be using Parse software to build "a whole new category of apps for connected devices." This includes in-home smart appliances, wearable smart devices, and everything in-between. Parse for IoT is a new "official" line of SDK (software developer kits) for connected devices. Parse Product Manager James Yu spoke up this week on the release, suggesting that through conversations with Parse customers who use the platform in hardware products already, they've decided they could "go one step further."

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Facebook’s ‘Businesses on Messenger’ turns chats into orders

Facebook’s ‘Businesses on Messenger’ turns chats into orders

As Facebook turns Messenger into a platform, a major pull will likely come via enterprise. In opening Facebook Messenger up to third parties via an API, the company imagines we’ll no longer need to make calls or send emails. If all goes according to plan, that might be a reality. With Messenger’s business angles, we will now have the ability to message a business rather than call them, and get receipts and the like via a message rather than email.

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