Facebook has been instrumental in changing the way we communicate in our life ever since its inception. Facebook F8 is an annually arranged conference by Facebook and this year, it made the world witness a peek into the visions of the company which are futuristic and a bit hard to believe but fascinating for sure.
The two day conference which is largely intended for developers and entrepreneurs was started on a lighter note by Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, by drawing an analogy with the tagline of Fast and the furious (F8). He said that while the movie says ‘Never give up on family’, Facebook says ‘Never give up on family of apps’ (wiz. Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Whatsapp). Augmented reality was the pivotal element in the whole summit with some other intriguing announcements as well.
Camera, the first augmented reality platform
Zuckerberg pointed out that photos and videos are becoming more central than text when it comes to sharing over apps. Therefore camera needs to be given more focus and for that the new digital trend of augmented reality will be used to make it more enhanced. With the simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), you could be able to make the text you add to a picture say, of your breakfast cereal kept on a table, to lie perfectly over the table as if the text was a real object in the world. You can go creative and make sharks to swirl around your cereal bowl and can possibly replicate ‘Up and Up’ music video of Coldplay without have to use any software or line of codes. The Facebook’s CEO went on to show how with understanding the depth of an image with augmented reality, we can be able to create a 3D scene from a 2D still image. With the real-time understanding of the object, not only selfies can be altered which Snapchat popularised but any object can be identified and can be altered.
Advancements in image recognition
Mike Schroepfer, CTO of Facebook, explained how a recently released technology known as Mask 4-CNN could help Facebook to identify different objects in an image by detecting them separately and can even deduce their position and orientation in relation to the scene with the help of 17 key point deduction. This can help remove objects from the scene which the CTO went on to show on the screen by removing a surfer from the ocean behind him in the video. This technology is only a month old and probably holds much more potential than noticeable today.
It is an exciting Facebook product which Rachel Franklin, Head of Social VR at Facebook, unveiled at the summit. In Spaces, you can choose and create from among the AI generated avatars of yourself and can even tweak some of your generated features. As Facebook Spaces has integrated with messenger video calls, you get to interact with up to three of your friends by calling them up and they can instantly join you in your virtual world. Spaces was officially launched on Oculus store in beta version just after the conference.
Messenger Platform 2.0
The progress made by Messenger app has been notable ever since its release with the features like quick replies, persistent menus and native payments. David ‘The Rock’ Marcus, VP of Messaging Products at Facebook declared that Spotify and Apple Music are coming to the Messenger platform and that will make the hassle of switching between apps a thing of past. You can search for the song or the artist by clicking on spotify icon in the composer in Messenger and directly share the song and can even play it live. Messenger has also partnered up delivery.com through which you can have social food ordering experience where your friends in chat group conversation can add up orders to the cart.
Typing from brain and skin hearing
This concept which sounds unrealistic and at the same time revolutionary from a social angle was spoken at large on day 2 of the conference. Regina Dugan, VP of Engineering at Facebook, focused on typing with the help of thoughts and not by using fingers. She showed a picture of a woman who had ALS who couldn’t move or speak but could type through her mind. When the woman imagines moving the cursor, the computer moves it for her. They are also developing a system which can help people experience sound by feeling it through their skin.
While all of the announcements made at Facebook F8 2107 sound exciting and crazy as ever, they are still under development and some are hard to be implemented anywhere near future. The ones that are launched are available in beta version for try-outs. But it all allows us to see what kind of probable innovations are in front of us and it definitely makes us believe that the era we are living in is the most exciting time to be alive. Maybe what we see today as crazy will sound normal someday in the future.