Oculus, AI and more unveiled as Facebook expands hardware lineup

Global Business

Facebook just wrapped up its annual developer’s conference known as F8.

CGTN’s Mark Niu reports.

While the company focused on privacy in light of recent data scandals, it also showed it was branching out beyond traditional social media.

It is cutting-edge hardware that cuts the cord — Oculus Quest. Oculus is owned by Facebook, which is proving it’s gone well beyond status updates and likes – to a galaxy far, far away.

“Quest just blows people away,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during his keynote on stage. “It’s the first time you can just walk around a VR space and fully interact with the people in it.”

Facebook’s expanding hardware lineup also includes Portal – a smart video calling device.

It looks like a mere speaker with a video screen. But using Artificial Intelligence and camera vision, it can follow the action or focus on whomever you choose.

It integrates with Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Facebook live stream, offering storytelling capabilities that are livened up by augmented reality that places stunning effects right over the people on screen.

“Between smart camera and smart sound, and the ability to add in new AR experiences into calls… really feels like you’re with the person and takes that feeling of distance away from the experience,” said John McCarthy, the Head of Product Management for Portal experiences at Facebook”

So popular have camera effects become that Facebook now has its own Spark Augmented Reality Studio. It allows developers to easily create augmented reality effects for both Instagram and Facebook.

If that’s not enough, Facebook revealed it’s going all out into the world of romance.

Facebook Dating uses your personal preferences and algorithms to help you find your best match.

It also has a feature called ‘secret crush,’ where you can list people you secretly like and get responses only when someone on the list has you on their list too.

Developer Sang Hun Kang, who built a dating app of his own in South Korea, believes Facebook Dating has great potential.

“The most hard thing in a dating app is getting users. Facebook has lots of users,” said Kang. “In most dating cases, especially women, have some anxiety about meeting people who they don’t know before. In terms of that case, Facebook has friends. They will show mutual friends. It can relieve their anxiety.”

But with Facebook Dating working to make use of personal information, Kang says it could also be challenging to adhere to CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s conference theme — that the future is private.