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Watch Facebook’s F8 conference here, plus what to expect

TechCrunch TechCrunch 12/04/2016 Josh Constine

Chatbots, Live video, and VR technology are all on the docket for Facebook’s F8 developer conference, and you can watch the livestream here at 9:30am PST with Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote starting at 10am. There’ll also be more streamed sessions all day today and tomorrow.

Here’s the full schedule for the stream:

Day 1 (April 12)

  • 10AM PT : Keynote
  • 12PM PT : Messenger: Connecting People and Businesses
  • 12:30PM PT : Growing Your Business with Facebook Pages
  • 1PM PT : Onboarding and Account Management for Apps
  • 2PM PT : Creating Value for News Publishers and Readers on Facebook
  • 3PM PT : Deeper Insights with Facebook Analytics for Apps

Day 2 (April 13)

  • 10AM PT : Keynote
  • 12PM PT : The Technology Behind 360 Video
  • 1PM PT : Optimizing 360 Video for Oculus
  • 2PM PT : Leveraging Facebook as a Platform for eCommerce
  • 2:30PM PT : Building iOS Tooling at Facebook Scale

While Facebook is tight-lipped about exactly what will be revealed today, we’ve heard from sources some confirmed launches as well as a few rumors. Here’s a few things to watch for:

Confirmed

Messenger Chatbot APIs – Facebook will launch tools allowing developers to build automated response agents for Messenger, multiple sources confirm. This follows our scoop from February that Facebook had given some developers a Chat SDK for building bots. These bots could replace 1-800 numbers, providing customer service over chat, and use artificial intelligence to deliver ecommerce, news, content, and other experiences.

Live Chat APIs – Even if you’re talking to a human customer support agent, Facebook wants you to do it on Messenger rather than a business’ website. Multiple source confirm Facebook will release developer tools for building “Message Us” buttons for web and mobile sites that push users to Messenger where businesses can use enterprise software to efficiently respond to requests.

News Over Messenger – Facebook plans to allow news publishers to distribute content through Messenger, Marketing Land first reported and we’ve since had sources confirm.

Marketing Over Messenger – Facebook plans to unlock advertising opportunities in Messenger in Q2 2016, according to a presentation sent by Facebook to a top brand on its platform. Though we haven’t confirmed this will launch at F8, Facebook does have a breakout session at the conference dedicated to “Messenger: Connecting People And Businesses” hosted by Frerke-Malt Feller, part of the Messenger Monetization team…which is interesting because Messenger has never been monetized directly.

Rumors

Live Video Production Tools– Facebook has been working on ways for media publishers to use professional video editing software to manage and enhance Live videos, we’ve heard. That could include ways for publishers to switch between different video feeds or camera angles while maintaining a single Live broadcast. Facebook could also allow publishers to use professional videography hardware, The New York Times reported. It’s already paying publishers to broadcast on Live instead of their own sites.

New Ways To Deliver Ads –  We’ve heard talk that Facebook will announce partnerships to make it easier for small businesses to create video ads.

VR Capture Technology– Facebook’s F8 guide cryptically includes a session on “VR Capture Technology” about “The hardware and software engineering required to bring this new and exciting technology to life”. Though it’s unclear what tech it’s talking about exactly, the session is led by Brian Cabral who works on “advanced computational imaging projects” for Facebook and Oculus. In September Facebook revealed a new way to shrink the size of 360 video files by using equirectangular mapping.

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