Facebook F8 : Four things you need to know

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Speaking in San Jose, California at Facebook’s F8 gathering of tech folks, startups and others, Zuckerberg said that 2018 has been an “intense year” just four months in. (May 1)
AP

 

Here are the four biggest announcements from Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook’s annual F8 conference for software developers on Tuesday. 

Privacy tool: Clear history

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Including apps, websites, and advertising.
Time

Facebook is giving more control to users with a new tool called Clear History.

Similar to deleting cookies and browsing history in a web browser, this tool removes any information Facebook has about you from your interactions that take place off of the main Facebook website. You can also disable Facebook from following your off-Facebook actions going forward. 

“This is the kind of control that we think people should have,” Zuckerberg said. The feature doesn’t have a firm release date but will be rolled out in the next few months.

Facebook getting into the dating game

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduces a new feature designed to get you out of the friend zone.
USA TODAY

Ever wish you could use Facebook to date? Well, now you’ll have the option.

Facebook will be rolling out a new feature to its mobile app that will try to help single users find their soulmates. 

“This is going to be for building real long-term relationships, not just hookups,” Zuckerberg said. The service will require users to opt into it and Facebook says your regular friends won’t see your dating profile.

Investors in Tinder owner Match Group and its parent company IAC were not enamored with this idea. Match Group stock ended Tuesday down 22% while IAC fell nearly 18%. 

The stock drop also drew out some sniping from IAC’s CEO. “Come on in. The water’s warm,” Joey Levin said in a statement. “Their product could be great for US/Russia relationships.”  

Facebook’s dating feature will begin testing later this year.

Video chat will be everywhere

Ever wanted to video chat on Instagram? Or group video chat on WhatsApp? Well, soon you’ll be able to. 

Facebook plans to roll out video chat (including group video chat) to Instagram in the next few weeks, while WhatsApp will soon gain the ability to do group video chats after having the ability to do one-on-one video chats since 2016.

While you’ll be able to video chat on each of Facebook’s three platforms, you still can’t chat with someone on WhatsApp through Instagram or video chat with an Instagram user from Facebook Messenger. 

But that’s not all for messaging. Augmented reality effects, such as face filters, will be coming to Instagram and Facebook Messenger.

More: Facebook brings augmented reality to Facebook Messenger

Oculus finally goes phone and PC free

In addition to all the software news, Facebook did have one hardware announcement: its first Oculus virtual reality headset that does not require a connection to a phone or computers. 

Available now for $199, the new VR headset includes all the computing power inside the device itself, as opposed to earlier Oculus headsets that needed to be tethered to a computer or Samsung’s Gear VR, which was designed in partnership with Oculus but needed a Samsung Galaxy S or Note phone to provide the screen and processing power.

More: Facebook’s Oculus Go ditches computer and phone in latest, $199 test of virtual reality

And at under $200 for the whole package, it is also Facebook’s most affordable VR device. 

We found the Go’s graphics to be pretty impressive but whether this will be enough to get people to finally buy into virtual reality remains to be seen.

Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal 

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