POV: F8 - The Tao of Mark Zuckerberg

Mindshare Point of View:

Two days at the Haj of Facebook, the F8 developers conference, gave insight into the dizzying heights of Facebook's corporate purpose and ambition. Connecting the people of the world in real time and to do that in the context of lifelike experiences makes 'organize the world's information and make it universally accessible' - the Google purpose - seem almost pedestrian.

Facebook is in the process of changing society and doing so by making communication some kind of sixth sense or fifth element. It's easy to trivialize likes and shares but underneath lies truly profound change.

The magical word is not social, not network but reality. Reality in this context is the humanizing of experiences that are currently desensitized by lack of physical presence and real time interaction and ultimately the sensory separation that necessarily, until now, has created emotional as physical distance.

F8 was long on announcements that confirm the energy, trajectory and scale of Facebook's ambition. Two stood out and occupy the poles of practical and magical. The announcement of business integrations with Messenger, bring real identity, natural language dialog and real time to customer interactions with companies. The second, the update on Oculus, in which clear statements were made of 2015 mass market shipping of Crescent Bay, the latest iteration of its consumer VR device. The proximity of large scale shipping and the obvious advances of the product, the demonstration is head spinning, would give anyone confidence that virtual reality is at a tipping point and that the emphasis is moving from virtual to reality.

2500 developers, themselves the creators of Facebook's pervasive app ecosystem, left F8 with the sense that Zuckerberg's ambition will comfortably accommodate their own and provide the audience and technology backbone to support their own investments.

For advertisers F8 showed that live and lifelike experiences and real time customer interaction are near term necessities rather than a hypothetical way station on the 2925 road map.

Key Points

  • Facebook Messenger Platform – Facebook messenger will become its own separate platform, complete with its own selection of apps. Developers are encouraged to design apps that will fit seamlessly into the functionality of messenger and will enhance the user experience. These apps, which will likely to incorporate pictures, videos and sound clips, will not be installed through an external app store, but spread virally through messages created using the apps.
  • Business and Messenger – The new platform also presents exciting opportunities for businesses to converse more freely with consumers. Especially with new functionality allowing consumers to ask questions directly to businesses through Messenger, as well as incorporating order tracking capabilities.
  • Parse and the Internet of Things – Parse SDK (mobile development platform previously acquired by Facebook) has now made it easier for developers to build apps that connect Facebook to technology around the home.
  • Spherical Videos – The new VR friendly format will allow 360 degree videos to be added to the Facebook newsfeed capitalizing on Facebook’s Oculus Rift acquisition.
  • Analytics for Apps – This new tool aims to bring more transparency to app developers regarding who is using their apps. They will also be able to track the ads responsible for promoting their apps.