Facebook’s newly-revived annual developer conference, F8 2015, hits San Fran on March 25th for two days of panels, demos, and a keynote or two. While historically F8 isn’t quite the spectacle of, say, Apple’s WWDC, F8 2014 did introduce the world to the Facebook Audience Network, App Links, and anonymous login — so Zuckerberg’s affair is no slouch. The conference was on hiatus from 2011 until last year, when Zuck promised a “bigger, cooler” locale for 2015.
Tickets to F8 (going for $495 a pop) have been gone for some time; those of us at home will have the option to stream the event for no cost.
The posted schedule for F8 2015 gives us a little insight into the conference’s focus; interestingly, as TechCrunch has reported, all of Facebook’s acquired products (WhatsApp, Oculus Rift, Instagram) will get a share in the spotlight this year (past F8 conferences have focused on the main Facebook platform only).
Facebook Messenger is also expected to be a star next week. Following a revelation this week by the Wall Street Journal that the company would soon be allowing Messenger users to send money to their friends, a lá Venmo, TechCrunch reported that FB would announce their intent for the app to become it’s own stand-alone platform.
With 500 million users currently, Facebook Messenger is already a beast in its own right; and if the reports are true, the company may be looking to expand its capabilities beyond simply chatting with friends. In addition to stickers for photos and the aforementioned “Facebook Pay”, FB may be taking a page out of Asian competitors WeChat, by allowing the integration of third-party apps & games into the Messenger ecosystem.
The inclusion of payments (which, reportedly, Facebook won’t be monetizing in the beginning) and third-party apps potentially puts Messenger in a position to one day be an eCommerce platform — allowing for things like movie tickets, flowers, meals, and other goods to be bought & sold directly from the app itself.
Clearly, this would be of major interest to social media marketers and online commerce; though, I must reiterate, all of this remains unconfirmed by Facebook as of now.
Other highlights of Facebook’s F8 2015 will likely include a showcase of the newest Oculus Rift model, Crescent Bay, and Internet.org will be on-hand to allow developers to test their apps on simulated third-world internet connections. There are also expected to be panels on NewsFeed, and there would be no Facebook event complete without a keynote from Zuckerberg himself.
I will be viewing as much of the livestream as possible (I do have a job, people), and will have updates from what comes out of F8 2015 next week.