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Facebook F8 Conference: What announcements mean for iOS users

This week Facebook held its annual F8 developer’s conference. Not dissimilar to Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) which generally takes place in June, Facebook’s event was also used as a platform for the announcement of new products and technology.

Here’s a quick rundown of what iPhone and iPad users need to know about the developments to the Facebook and Messenger apps:

Messenger Platform

Facebook’s standalone Messenger app received a significant update. Most importantly, the launch of the Messenger Platform and the arrival of bots.

This means that businesses can now create bots for users to chat to. This will help with customer service and frequently asked questions a customer or user may have. A presentation on the new feature explained that developers could give the new bot engine some samples of conversation and it would eventually learn more through AI and machine learning. Facebook has also noted that users will have the ability to block bots if they wish.

It goes further though – an example at the event saw David Marcus, Facebook’s head of Messaging Products purchase a pair of shoes. He was able to find the shoe, set its requirements and even buy the shoes via the Messenger app.

It shows Facebook’s desire to create an automated system that goes beyond simple chat. Find out more about the new Messenger Platform via the Facebook newsroom.

Facebook Live

The relatively new Facebook Live feature has proved popular for users that wish to stream their activities live via their cameras, so much so that Facebook is working on ways to make user’s live videos more prominent.

This includes a new Live tab in the Facebook app, which will showcase both friends of users, but also celebrities, which will help users to discover new live content.

Furthermore, developers are set to benefit from a new Live API, which was showcased via DJI – a drone maker. The move lets developers directly integrate with Facebook Live via their apps, making live video streaming possible from other platforms.

Account Kit

Facebook is planning on implementing a new form of sign-in across the web. It will allow users to log in using just their phone number – similar to Apple’s two-factor authentication process – a user enters a phone number and then they’re sent an SMS with a confirmation code. The video below demonstrates the new feature: