Facebook F8 App Confirms Messenger As A Platform, Parse For IoT?

25 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A Facebook app made for the network’s annual conference appears to have leaked some of the company’s biggest planned updates..

The social network’s F8 conference began today, but some users of its official app have reported seeing notifications about announcements already. Facebook is expected to announce some major changes coming to its Facebook Messenger app on Wednesday that could turn the chatting platform into massive hub for users.Having an official companion app for your developers conference might seem like a nice touch to make the tech-savvy attendees feel at home – but Facebook will be the first to tell you it can backfire. If the rumors are true, we could soon be able to use advanced photo tools, conduct searches, share travel arrangements and perform other tasks as a part of Facebook Messenger. Just revealed: Parse for IoT, Messenger as a Platform, and the Teleportation Station.” The alert seen by Multiple people seems to indicate that Facebook will reveal a version of its mobile app building suite Parse for “Internet Of Things” devices.

Considering the social network recently rolled out a peer-to-peer payments feature via the platform, it’s no surprise that it is readying Messenger to be much more than it is right now. First things first – Parse is the name of Facebook’s tool for developers that enables them to access the back end of the website and work on integrating their software. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is rumored to open the platform during Facebook’s annual F8 Developer Conference, so developers can put a Messenger feature directly within their third-party apps. While IoT refers to the “internet of things” a group term for connecting everyday appliances to the internet, the second two points are particularly interesting.

The company’s stock has been trading at record highs since last week, buoyed by optimism it can use a widening user base to keep attracting advertisers and fend off challenges from Twitter and Google. This could mean a greater Facebook presence in things you do already in the home – posting about wanting to watch Breaking Bad could prompt your smart TV to find it on Netflix, for example. “Messenger as a Platform” sounds as though it refers to a further widening of the gap between Facebook and its instant message service Messenger. Facebook has been concentrating heavily on its Messenger app for the last year and, as for the “Teleportation Station”, that could have something to do with the virtual reality Oculus Rift. Facebook previously said that all its major products would see announcements at F8, including Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus, along with Parse and Messenger. But whatever carefully orchestrated plans it had for unveiling news went out the window when the F8 app sent out a notification that said: Opening up Messenger to developers will be an interesting move, particularly to see how Facebook will continue to differentiate Messenger from WhatsApp.

In a move similar to Snapchat Discover, Facebook is rumoured to be bringing news content inside its walls rather than providing links to outside news sources. Judging by the notification’s text, it may have accidentally been sent early when it should have gone out mid-day tomorrow after the F8 keynote from 10am-11am PST when the major product announcements will be made. Facebook’s F8 conference runs today and tomorrow, and serves as Facebook’s biggest chance of the year to show off updates and new products to developers and customers. More than 2 000 app makers are set to attend, eager to hear what Facebook has in store for the developers who depend on the platform to build mobile apps, add users and make money. Media companies already rely on Facebook to help spread and disseminate their content, so this could potential be a very big move from the technology giant.

Relationships with mobile developers give Facebook additional real estate for the more than 1 million advertisers it serves and intelligence on which startups are growing fast. Zuckerberg has in the past described the site as each user’s personal newspaper – telling of birthdays, weddings, graduations – and now he wants this to apply to wider news as well. If this is actually an accidental but legit Facebook message, it points to the company yet again expanding its horizons to consider how and where it could enable communications between people beyond its core Facebook platform.

At this year’s F8 – the name comes from spending eight hours outside your normal workday to work on passion projects and learn about new technology – the agenda includes such topics as security, Facebook’s data infrastructure and ways to get the most out of the network’s programming interface. Follow tech reporters Karissa Bell (@Karissabe) and JP Mangalindan (@JPManga), as well as Mashable’s Twitter account (@Mashable for everything you need to know in real time. But Facebook’s contemplation of IoT is not new, with execs at the company wondering aloud back in 2013 about where Facebook’s social graph could fit into a wider network of connected objects. (And I’d argue that moves like making Messenger into a platform are signs that Facebook is not exactly as tied to the concept of sharing with your wider social graph in a public way as it used to be.) Parse, too, has been dabbling with the idea of IoT for a while, although not directly.

So far, we haven’t heard much about Facebook’s plans for its work-based social network so the F8 conference could be the perfect place to drum up some support for it. The Menlo Park, California-based company has been expanding in mobile advertising as it competes in that business with big technology companies such as Google and Apple. It’s not clear how Facebook plans to manage the future of these two instant messaging services – so we’re hoping for some clues to be revealed this week.

The company has also recently added a payment service to its Messenger chat app, and is building some products that remove the need for third-party apps – such as a photo-layout app for Instagram that undercuts programs like Pic Stitch. At F8 last year, Zuckerberg told outside developers that Facebook would give its users more control over the information they share with external programs accessed through its site. The app uses Facebook member profiles to determine the events they might enjoy and which of their friends may attend. “One thing we’re looking for is some consistency,” he said of this year’s conference. “In terms of permissions, it was an all-you-can-eat sort of thing, and now it’s more a la carte, where people can pick and choose which permissions to give and which permissions they can’t.” “It’s been performing very well for us, and it’s only available on the native app right now,” he said. “We’d like if it could move to mobile web as well.” Some developers say the benefits of building for Facebook’s platform outweigh the potential drawbacks.

Last year’s move by Facebook meant that Threadflip, which runs an online marketplace for secondhand clothes, will need Facebook’s approval to access users’ extended networks to support a feature that lets a person recommend purchases to friends. “It’s additional work for us, but I agree with the changes they’re making,” said co-founder Jeff Shiau, also Threadflip’s chief technology officer. “It’s definitely challenging to keep up with the platform. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles.

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