Memo: Facebook Announces Forward-Thinking Approaches to Messenger, Videos, and Internet Access

Facebook Updates Messenger, Allowing Users to Create and Share Content with Third Party Tools

At Facebook’s annual developer conference, F8, this week, they announced a software development kit which allows developers to create messenger companion apps.  

Users can create content like animated GIFs, or add special effects to a video, or discover new content, and then share it with friends through Messenger.   Each piece of content includes a link to the app it was made with, and recipients can download or open that app, and reply with a piece of content.

By creating more vivid ways to share, Messenger could differentiate itself from competing messaging apps, and position itself as the long-term messaging leader, by focusing heavily on content.



Facebook Takes First Step Towards Virtual Reality with Spherical Videos

During his F8 keynote speech on Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is testing “spherical videos”, a new kind of 360 degree online video that lets you virtually move through recreations of real places, by tilting your smartphone, similarly to how you can move through imagines places using Oculus.

Facebook describes the spherical videos, which will soon be supported in newsfeed, as a first step toward even more immersive videos, that we’ll eventually view through virtual reality headsets like Oculus Rift.

Virtual Reality is definitely gaining popularity, however Facebook will need to figure out how to make VR interactive, because when you strap on a VR headset, you’re getting more disconnected from the world.



Facebook Announces Aquila Drone, Will Beam Down Internet Access With Lasers

On the second day of F8, Facebook announced plans for a drone they will use to beam the internet down to billions of people using lasers.  The drone has a wingspan comparable to a Boeing 767 yet uses lightweight materials so weighs less than a car.  It has to be light because it will stay in the air for three months at a time using solar power.  Facebook says it’ll begin test flights this summer, with a broader rollout over the next several years.  As the world progresses to become more connected, Facebook is in a good position to lead the way in providing internet to a large number of currently underserved areas, giving them significant advantages moving forward.