Facebook’s F8 2019 keynote address came and went on Tuesday, leaving behind a bundle of upcoming feature updates and products to mess with in the coming months.
The event was lengthy and left us with a lot to talk about, but here’s a quick list of all the big announcements Facebook made at F8 this year.
Another big Facebook redesign
First and foremost, Facebook’s flagship social network is getting a major redesign. Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it a point to mention that there’s hardly any blue left in the site’s new look; instead it’s almost entirely white. The new version of the mobile app has started rolling out, while the updated desktop site is coming later this year.
Aside from the visual redesign, the new Facebook has a heavy emphasis on groups. The site will make group recommendations more frequently and you can share posts directly to groups more easily than before. The “Meet New Friends” feature will work with groups to help people form real-life connections with others with common interests, too.
Facebook wants you connecting to people more often, which brings us to the next announcement.
Facebook Dating is coming to the U.S. and getting creepier
Facebook first announced its in-app dating service last year, but it has yet to come to most of the world. At F8, Facebook announced it would bring the service to the United States in 2019.
A more pressing concern, however, is a new feature Facebook announced during the broadcast. The “Secret Crush” feature will let you build a list of your Facebook friends who you might be interested in dating. The list is kept a secret from everyone else, but if two people put each other on their “Secret Crush” lists, Facebook will tell both of them.
Yeah, it’s weird.
Instagram isn’t a numbers game anymore
As for Instagram, Facebook’s photo-sharing cousin is getting some interesting new updates. First, the camera within the app has been totally redesigned to facilitate more “creative” efforts, which is Facebook’s way of referring to things that aren’t images. If you’re a big fan of using Stories to make polls or anything like that, this might be for you.
Perhaps the most fascinating Instagram announcement involved likes. Facebook confirmed it was testing a redesign that would hide the total number of likes a post has to make Instagram less about accumulating huge numbers of likes. It’s only being tested in Canada right now, so it’s not a big concern for most of the world yet.
Messenger is getting smaller and faster
The standalone Messenger app is being overhauled in the name of efficiency. The new mobile app will take up substantially less space on your phone and will supposedly load much faster than before.
There will also be a new desktop app, for those who would rather use that than a browser. Additionally, Messenger is getting new video sharing features that will allow users to watch and react to things together.
Two new Oculus VR headsets are almost here
On the hardware side of things, Facebook will launch two new Oculus VR headsets on May 21. Both are $399, but have some important differences.
The Oculus Rift S is a continuation of the classic Rift line, meaning it is powerful but needs to be connected to a beefy gaming PC to function. The Oculus Quest, on the other hand, is less powerful but requires no PCs, cables or external hardware at all — it’s all in the headset.
Both can be preordered starting Tuesday.
Portal is coming to more places and getting more options
Facebook’s other big hardware product, Portal, got a couple of announcements on Tuesday, too. The device will come to Canada on June 4 and Europe in the fall. Additionally, it will work with WhatsApp and provide end-to-end encryption for calls.
Facebook is also integrating Facebook Live into Portal. If you want to stream to your Facebook friends using the device’s camera, you now have a way to do so.