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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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At F8, Facebook makes ‘Messenger Platform’ official

At F8, Facebook makes ‘Messenger Platform’ official

Facebook Messenger is now a platform. At Facebook’s F8 conference today, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new Messenger Platform, but what exactly does it do? Zuck says we’ll have ‘more tools for expression’, and Facebook will let other apps piggyback onto Messenger to do that. Apps like Giphy can be used to create and share GIFs, but that’s not all. Calls “don’t feel like the future”, says Zuck, and he’s right. Messengers users can now communicate with a business inside the app, which really ties the service as an actual platform.

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Mark Zuckerberg teases 360 VR video in Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg teases 360 VR video in Facebook

"Soon we're going to start supporting spherical video in newsfeed," said Zuckerberg, "and soon we're going to be supporting spherical video in VR, in your VR headset." Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed interest in VR several years ago - well before the company purchased Oculus VR. Here in 2015, it's clear that the future of Facebook includes more than just sharing text, and more than just sharing photos. Facebook will soon be sharing spherical video - not just video, but video that allows you to look around in all directions.

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Facebook tipped to reveal Parse for Internet of Things at F8

Facebook tipped to reveal Parse for Internet of Things at F8

Facebook is gearing up for its F8 conference and it looks as if a text alert was accidentally sent out a bit early by someone running the event. The text message went out to multiple people according to reports and shines a bit of light on what Facebook plans to unveil during the conference. The text specifically talks about three new offerings.

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Facebook ‘On This Day’ brings nostalgia in fewer clicks

Facebook ‘On This Day’ brings nostalgia in fewer clicks

Many of us have photos in Facebook we keep there for safekeeping. The ability to upload pics and have them stored in the cloud is a nice feature for Facebook. Nostalgia is also one reason many keep those old photos lying around digitally, where a quick trip down memory lane is just a few clicks away. Today, Facebook is announcing less clicks to get you to memory lane, as a new feature named “On This Day” is being rolled out.

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Facebook wants to host the news, not just share it

Facebook wants to host the news, not just share it

Facebook may be a major source of eyeballs for online news, but the social site is reportedly hoping to not only direct readers to stories but host those articles too, as it tries to keep surfers on its site and happy. Mark Zuckerberg & Co. are said to be in negotiations with a number of high-profile publishers, including BuzzFeed and National Geographic, to host content on Facebook's own servers rather than direct shared links externally. The strategy would help cut loading times, which are said to be a key concern at Facebook as it tries to ensure its users stick around, particularly on mobile devices.

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Facebook Messenger may soon end up a platform

Facebook Messenger may soon end up a platform

Facebook Messenger, like many apps of its kind, does one thing well; it sends and receives messages. There have been rumors of an Uber add-on, and you can now send money within Messenger, but the overarching goal is to send messages to others who use the app. By working in some of those extra features, it seems Facebook was either testing the waters of platform or stumbled upon it. Either way, a new rumor that Facebook will be turning Messenger into its own platform is interesting.

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Facebook testing dialer, call-blocking app for Android

Facebook testing dialer, call-blocking app for Android

According to some leaked screenshots, it appears that Facebook is preparing another app to dominate your smartphone home screen, for Android at least. In what could be a spiritual successor to Facebook Home, a now-abandoned Android skin that placed the social network's key messaging and photo features on the home screen, this new app appears to be not only a dialer, but a caller ID and blocker as well. As of now, the app is creatively called Phone.

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