insights from F8 2019
I recently had the opportunity to attend my second F8, Facebook developer conference in San Jose, California. Myself, our CTO and developer team lead spent a week in Silicon Valley. The below transposes some of my cultural, technological and business discourse, on this excursion.
While exploring more of San Francisco, it became clear to me how the cultural history of the city has nurtured the ethos of innovation in Silicon Valley. In the heart of the city lies Haight-Ashbury, a district celebrated for the origins of counter culture and hippie movement. In the summer of 1967 hundreds of thousands of hippies gathered in this area, this later became known as the summer of love. It is evident how this free-minded thinking, encouragement of individualism and challenging the norm, has birthed the current approach to business and innovation that the Silicon Valley is renowned for. This phenomenon, coupled with schools such as Berkley and Stanford, has been instrumental to the plethora of innovation and trajectory of these companies.
bringing the innovation home
The Popimedia product team has been working tirelessly to combine their experiences with business needs to continue the company’s evolution as Africa’s leading ad-tech partner. We at Popimedia will be utilizing AI engines/solutions such as Wit.ai and Infer among others. Wit.ai to automate and optimise our FAQs and client query management. Infer will allow us to auto detect bugs and debug – freeing up our engineers to build more products for our clients and their respective verticals. With that said, let’s dive into the highlights from F8 2019.
One of the most notable changes at F8 this year was Facebook’s approach to user privacy. In the keynote, Mark Zuckerberg addressed privacy issues, lack of trust and the controversy surrounding these, head-on and with humility. He managed to turn a major threat to the company into a growth opportunity. An impressive directional shift, showing the agility of the social media giant.
A commitment to ensuring all user behaviour is private including the sharing of content, video calls, location sharing and making payments through the platform was evident throughout the conference. Zuckerberg stated that the company’s recent product development has been governed by six principles:
- Private interactions: complete confidence that what users say and do is private
- Encryption: end-to-end encryption preventing others, including Facebook, from seeing what users share
- Reduced permanence: users shouldn’t have to worry that what they say and share will come back to hurt them in the future, therefore the platform has committed to not keeping content around for longer than necessary
- Safety: users should expect that Facebook will do everything they can to keep them safe within the Facebook family of apps (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger)
- Interoperability: users will be able to use any of the Facebook family of apps to reach their friends to communicate easily and securely across different networks and platforms
- Secure data storage: Facebook won’t store sensitive data in countries where this can be forcibly accessed and used against the population
saying goodbye to the blues
Facebook also updated their design, leaving the blue behind and revamping their logo, overall sporting a sleeker look.
This update in design also symbolises an evolution in the way the company is run, shifting away from a focus on growth and revenue above all else, towards a people-first platform. Zuckerberg believes that if Facebook (and its family of apps) is fully encrypted and offers operable services which allow people to interact privately, it will become an important and positive contributor to peoples’ lives the world over.
Zuckerberg introduced two concepts that were particularly pertinent to me; the Facebook family of apps is both our Times Square and our private lounge. Facebook and Instagram are Times Square and WhatsApp and Messenger our private lounge. This is a powerful position to hold as a tech company and Popimedia is expanding services into the so called private lounge apps.
A friends tab is being added in Messenger which will show users what their friends are sharing across the Facebook family of apps, in one consolidated space without being exposed to public content. Furthermore, WhatsApp will now offer users the option of making safe and secure payments via the platform.
Facebook has also released a new video chat app for desktop, supported by both Microsoft and Mac. This was one of the company’s top requested features. In addition, the company launched its newest VR headsets; the Oculus Rift S and the Oculus Quest.
to infinity and beyond
In his keynote, Zuckerberg made it clear that Facebook is building tech to shape the next generation of computing. This tech is designed to support the way we naturally interact with each other and which protects users’ privacy. One way of obtaining more connectedness through personal and more intimate experiences is through virtual (VR) and augmented (AR) reality. These developments are being used within the apps to help create shared spaces and experiences which bridge geographical distance, allowing users to engage and interact with objects in AR or VR, together.
why marketers need to be aware of what happens at F8
I personally learned that innovation is driven by questioning everything, and the ethos of “if it aint broke don’t fix it” must be discarded. Watching a giant like Facebook pivot and turn a threat into an opportunity was inspirational and full of lessons for us at Popimedia as we have similarly gone through a recent pivot toward a full stack commerce business, focused on ads that work, tech that delivers and data that informs and solves. We recently integrated a new channel and are in the middle of adding more in order to create an environment that solves real business problems, online and offline. The Popimedia team constantly strives to never become complacent and question everything for the purpose of improving it.