Everything we expect from Facebook’s F8, and how to watch it

Facebook’s big conference for the year is right around the corner, and while it seems like the hype has been a little subdued this time around, we’re expecting some pretty big announcements to come from the show.

F8 will start on Tuesday, April 18 with a keynote presentation at 10 a.m. PT, however different sessions will follow throughout the day. Another keynote will take place the next day at the same time, with more sessions to follow — so there’s plenty to be announced, even if it is largely developer-focused.

How to watch

How can you keep up with all these big announcements yourself? Thankfully, Facebook is live-streaming the majority of its sessions, including the big keynotes. As mentioned, the conference itself will start on Tuesday April 18 at 10 a.m. PT, and will run a full two days.

To watch the keynote and the sessions, you will have to register on the Facebook F8 website, but when you do you’ll be able to live-stream the event, and watch sessions on-demand. You can also join the “F8 Online Experience” Facebook event page for updates on F8, as well as live-streamed video and more information.

The event is hosted by the Facebook for Developers page.

What to expect

The announcements will cover a variety of Facebook products and services, from the Facebook app and Messenger, to the company’s other interests — like virtual reality. While not too much has been announced about the show so far, here’s everything we expect to see.

Group bots

Chat bots were a big focus at F8 2016, and it looks like that might shape up to be the case again this year. This time around, however, Facebook might expand its bots platform to groups — that’s to say, instead of bots only being able to help individuals, they could help groups keep up to date with news, sports games progress, e-commerce, and more.

The news, reported by TechCrunch, isn’t surprising. Facebook mentioned it would be expanding bots to work in group chats a while ago, and since then we haven’t seen that actually happen.

An offline version of Instagram

This one could be pretty helpful for Instagram users with spotty internet connections. A session called “Building Offline Experiences for Instagram” has been posted on the Facebook F8 schedule, suggesting that the platform will get at least some more offline features. It would make sense — Facebook has had quite a lot of success with Messenger Lite and Facebook Lite, which currently sits at 200 million users.

The Camera Effects Platform

Another session on the F8 schedule is called “Introduction to the Camera Effects Platform,” and it could signal a way for developers to submit their own filters and photo frames. The idea here is simple — Facebook’s team is excellent at building great frames and filters, but they can’t make everything. If more developers make filters and frames, the company could potentially outdo Snapchat.

A virtual reality headset

Virtual reality is seriously gaining steam, and Facebook is a major player in that happening. The company launched a 360-degree camera at F8 last year, and now recent rumors from Variety suggest Facebook could also launch its own VR headset — or at least the specifications for a VR headset that other companies could go on to use.

We’ll be on the ground in San Jose at F8, so follow our site for continuing coverage and updates. You can follow us on Twitter at @DigitalTrends. We’ll keep this page updated with all the F8-related info as we hear it, so stay tuned.

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