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The 3 biggest announcements from Facebook’s F8 conference

Facebook F8 2016 Announcements

On Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg and several other Facebook executives took the stage to speak to a group of developers gathered in San Francisco for its annual F8 event.

Although rarely as exciting as an Apple keynote or even Microsoft’s Build Developer Conference (on a good year), Facebook’s F8 event is when users of the most popular social network on the planet have a chance to see what features and updates the company plans to bring to the platform in the coming months.

READ MORE: Everyone is calling Apple’s best iPhone 6s feature a failure – here’s why they’re wrong

The first announcement of the day was one of the least surprising: Facebook is introducing tools for developers to build bots in Facebook Messenger, allowing users to interact with businesses on the network in a more meaningful way.

During the on-stage presentation, Zuckerberg showed how a CNN bot could send stories to a user that would begin to fall in line with their personal interests over time. Users will also be able to start a conversation with a business like 1-800-FLOWERS in the Messenger app to place an order, rather than having to pick up a phone or go through an automated form online.

Next, Facebook revealed a login tool called Account Kit, which allows developers to give users the ability to sign in to their Facebook accounts with just a phone number or an email address. No password necessary.

“Most people find remembering passwords difficult, so Account Kit gives people the option to log into new apps with just a few taps using only their phone number or email address,” Facebook explains on its Developer News hub. “There’s no need for a username and password. People can use Account Kit without sharing any information from their Facebook profile—they don’t even need a Facebook account to use it. By removing these major barriers to entry, Account Kit helps you increase your sign-ups and expand your audience.”

Video also played a major part in today’s keynote, with the company announcing a new API that will let developers build live-streaming video into their apps and products. Two examples that Facebook showed off on stage were an interactive game show from BuzzFeed and a DJI drone that was streaming live on Facebook even while flying dozens of feet in the air.

Those were easily the three most eye-catching announcements at the event on Tuesday, but Facebook had several other reveals worth mentioning:

  • Save to Facebook button for web that could make Pocket and Instapaper obsolete
  • The ability to share quotes to Facebook directly from a web page
  • Profile expression kit, which give users more options when creating a video profile picture

Not quite as earth-shattering as the other announcements, but interesting nonetheless. Facebook’s F8 developer conference will continue through Wednesday.

Here’s the keynote, in case you missed it:

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.