With lot of expectations, we have been eagerly waiting for the Facebook F8 Developer conference. Facebook has been experimenting with a lot of things lately like 360 degree videos, new ways to consume media, virtual reality, messenger bots and live videos. It was expected that during the conference, Facebook will offer lot more tools for brands, in travel and otherwise, and they didn’t disappoint. The Day 1 turned out to be promising and here is what new they have got for travel brands and marketers:
More ‘Live’ for you
Facebook recently introduced the option of live video and soon after, the notification tab was full of ‘XYZ is live’ notifications. Now they are going a step further and opening up more possibilities for the fans of live videos. It will be introducing APIs that would allow for the feature to be coupled with different cameras.
Periscope gave live videos an initial push but being limited to mobile, quality was a challenge. Travel brands like Skyscanner were bold enough to come up with ideas like 24 hour Periscope but not without the issues associated with mobile camera and internet. With Facebook however, brands will be able to use much better equipment and in turn produce better results.
Better visibility for travel media
Publishers widely use Facebook to share their content and for most them, a significant fraction of readers come from the social platform. However with a wide variety of devices and browsers, standardising the experience is a challenge. Facebook and Twitter introduced in app browsers but they didn’t solve the purpose either. With instant articles, travel publications and bloggers can manage to offer better experience to the readers coming to read their travel tales. Instant articles don’t require any third party app, launch very quickly and are perfectly optimised for the mobile device. The feature was already available to selected publishers and now all the publishers will be able to use it.
Say it with AI
This was probably the most talked about ‘secret’ announcement that Facebook had for the F8. Facebook announced that it will open up the Messenger platform in beta to allow chat bots into the app. This would enable travel brands to put an AI powered chat representative on the front to deal with the customer in Messenger app. Along with that, it also announced Bot Engine, a tool for teaching chat bots on what to say in different situations. With chat emerging as a popular option among travel brands to provide customer service and even bookings, the option of bots will speed up the process and open up a new channel.
A Google Jump rival
Over the past few months, we have been introduced to some very interesting startups like Ascape that are focussing on virtual reality travel experiences. However the common denominator has been the challenges in creating the content. Google introduced the Jump project earlier to make the job easier for content creators and now Facebook has introduced the Surround 360. It looks like a flying saucer and has 17 cameras to record the perfect 360 degree videos. Facebook also claims that it will minimise the post processing job and produce an almost ready to share result. Just like Google Jump, it is open source so hardware hackers can create their own variations.
We are looking forward to the announcements on the second day and will keep updating you on the same.