F8 2019: Zuckerberg says future is private, hints Facebook experience set to change big time
"I believe the future is private," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in his opening note at Facebook's annual developers' conference - the F8 2019 - in San Jose, California on Tuesday. During his keynote at the social media giant two-day event that began on May 30 Zuckerberg announced a privacy-focused vision of Facebook. "I know we don't have the strongest reputation on privacy right now but we are committed to doing that," the Facebook chief executive said on stage at the McEnergy Convention Centre during his keynote on May 30.
During his hour-long keynote, Zuckerberg highlighted how Facebook would design its infrastructure and resign its platform, including the Messenger, Instagram and the Facebook app, to focus on privacy and what he described as a "private social platform". "This is going to take a long time," the Facebook CEO cautioned adding, "We don't have all the answers to how this will all look like."
Announcing changes to the Facebook Messenger, which has been renamed as the Lightspeed this year, Zuckerberg said that his company's chat app's secret chats would now WhatsApp-like support end-to-end encrypted conversations and that the new version of the app would be faster and lighter from the existing Messenger app or M4 that was announced at the F8 2018 last year. In addition to this, Zuckerberg also said that Messenger would get its own desktop app - available both on Windows and macOS - that would be made available later this year.
Apart from announcing changes to Facebook Messenger, Zuckerberg also announced key changes to Facebook's core platform. He said that the company would completely redesign Facebook app - also called FB 5 - to give it a new user interface, a light design and bring Facebook groups to the centre stage. Facebook iconic blue-coloured logo would also be modified to emphasize on the company's focus on Facebook groups and communities. The new logo would be available in the US starting May 30 and in the rest of the world in the coming days.
Interestingly, while the Facebook founder didn't have any major updates for WhatsApp other than the availability of WhatsApp payments to a bigger demographics around the globe and availability of a special Product Catalogue feature in WhatsApp's Business app, he did announce updates to Instagram. Zuckerberg said that Instagram's camera was getting a new camera mode that would allow users to share stickers and quizzes in Stories. The photo-sharing app would also get donation stickers that would help in fundraising campaigns.
One of the biggest and most important announcements perhaps was pertaining to the Facebook Portals, the video chatting smart displays that raised further concerns among the analysts. Zuckerberg said that the Portals would be available in Canada this June and in Europe later this year and that WhatsApp and Messenger video calls on Portals would support end-to-end encryption.
Lastly, the Facebook founder announced the Oculus Rift S and the Oculus Quest, which according to him are the "most powerful VR [virtual reality] sets you can buy." Both the devices cost $399 (Rs 27,700 approx) and they would start shipping in the US on May 21.