Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and other leaders at the company took the stage at the F8 developer conference today to talk about where the platform is headed. We also got a look at the major new Facebook design headed for iOS and desktop that brings a brand new UI and logo, as well as a glimpse at new features and changes for Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
Zuckerberg kicked off the F8 keynote and reiterated the company’s new goals of safety, privacy, encryption, and interoperability that he shared last month. He stated again that the company believes the “future is private.”
He told the F8 audience that Messenger would take the lead among Facebook’s products to make changes in the direction of those new principles and also have the goal of being the fastest messaging service.
Zuckerberg confirmed the previously leaked news that Messenger will be making its way to both Mac and Windows and we got a glimpse of the app in dark mode on macOS. We didn’t get a firm release date for Messenger for desktop besides the app arriving this fall.
The presentation also highlighted that more than 2 billion people will be messaging privately with end-to-end encryption when the update comes to Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
As for interoperability, Zuckerberg showed off a new “Friends” tab that will be coming to Messenger where users will be able to see content from people they follow from Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. The interface features a tiled card design and won’t include content from businesses or public figures.
Another private communication focused update that will be coming to Messenger will be a “Watch Together” feature which sounds similar to other third-party apps we’ve seen previously that encourages remotely connecting with friends to watch videos.
Another highlight from the keynote was the unveiling of the next major Facebook iteration, FB5. The design will be much lighter, losing most of the blue theme on both mobile and desktop. It should also be easier to navigate and will feature a redesigned top tab bar.
FB5 will also come with an update to the Facebook logo, which has been a square with rounded corners for some time now. The new logo will be circular and looks to be dynamic depending on context as well.
Facebook also showed off that the platform on the web will be getting a dark mode in a short video shared on Twitter.
As for dark mode on iOS, Facebook says the feature will come first to the Watch tab, but hasn’t shared when it will rollout or arrive on the entire mobile app.
On mobile, we're rolling out Dark Mode first in Watch only, to help cut down on glare and put photos and videos in focus.
— Facebook (@facebook) April 30, 2019
Along with Facebook’s efforts to chart a new course for safety, privacy, and becoming a more positive platform overall, a greater focus will be placed on Groups with a featured tab being a part of the new top bar.
Zuckerberg said the new FB5 build is rolling out today on mobile (presumably for developers).
Zuckerberg also went over some new changes coming to Instagram. In the future, users will be able to create a new post without having to start with a photo or video. The feature is called “Create Mode” and will allow users to start with just text, a poll, question, and more.
On the business side, Instagram is expanding how shopping works on the platform. Creators will now be able to sell to followers by directly linking to products in posts.
Another new option will be to include donation stickers in posts to raise money for a cause that’s important to you.
Other updates on the company’s products included pre-orders for the wireless Oculus Quest VR headset going live for $399. This latest VR option doesn’t require a PC or Mac, with everything needed being built-in.
Zuckerberg also touched on the surprise success of its Portal home video hub and said that the product will be expanding internationally.