(AA) — Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg delivered the opening keynote at the company’s F8 developers conference Wednesday, where he revealed new steps for the social network.
At the start of his speech at San Francisco’s Fort Mason, Zuckerberg pointed out the enormity of Facebook’s empire. Facebook enjoys a population of 1.4 billion users, the CEO said, but the company’s other services, such as Groups, WhatsApp and Messenger each have more than half a billion users. In the past year, Facebook has launched six apps, including Paper, Hyperlapse, Slingshot, Groups and others.
Zuckerberg said users will soon begin sharing video more than photos or text, and he thinks the next step will be virtual reality, a new field Facebook is trying to germinate with actions like buying virtual reality pioneer Oculus VR.
The first major reveal Wednesday was Messenger Platform, which turns Facebook’s chatting app into an expansive new social network in its own right, with a dedicated app store and some 40 new apps for enhancing conversations, including ones for audio, video, GIFs and exchanging money. He also announced Messenger Business, which allows users to have private discussions with brands as well as make purchases and track shipping.
Deb Liu, the director of Facebook Platform, also told the crowd that videos on Facebook can now be embedded on other sites, a step toward competing with Google’s YouTube.
Liu also unveiled Analytics for Apps, a new and free way app developers can see how apps are being used. The service could be extremely important for young and cash-strapped start-ups considering Facebook has facilitated more than 1 billion app downloads.
Taking the stage to wrap up the address, Zuckerberg praised the Internet and Facebook for allowing users around the world to share more and better express themselves.
“Let’s go connect the world,” Zuckerberg told the crowd, closing out the keynote and opening two days of the conference.