Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg was live on Facebook to talk about the developments within the social networking site. The CEO talked about the Oculus Touch, the new controllers for the Oculus Rift VR headset, as well as new features and tools that might soon be part of the Facebook experience.
Zuckerberg first demoed the Oculus Touch during his Facebook live stream and he was joined by some of the company’s engineers. The controller that was shown off by Zuckerberg was actually a modified version of the Oculus Touch, and it comes with a very interesting new feature. The controller is able to change its temperature based on what the user is interacting with in virtual reality.
The Facebook CEO showed off this new feature by having one of the engineers simulating what it would feel like if a user was hovering over fire. Zuckerberg commented that it was “quite warm.” It wasn’t mentioned if this feature will be made available to consumers soon.
The live stream then shifted focus to upcoming features for Facebook. Messenger has a new tool that allows users to request a friend’s precise location. The feature can be enabled individually for each of a user’s contacts, according to Digital Trends. Once a user sends a request, a mapped location will automatically be sent as a reply. The user sending his or her location will be able to set a time limit on automatic responses to location requests.
The feature is described as an expansion of Facebook’s safety check feature which lets users tell their friends that they’re safe during a crisis. The new location-sharing feature on Messenger would be ideal in times of emergencies.
Another upcoming feature that will be making its way to Facebook is added GIF support for comments on its mobile app and on the desktop site. Facebook will be able to do this by integrating Giphy and Riffsy, two of the most popular GIF search engines right now.
The last demo was a new artificial intelligence tool that’s intended to make sharing photos and videos in an album faster. The AI will be able to collect photos and videos based on a user’s comments on a friend’s post.
For example, a user comments that he wants to see a friend’s photos from a wedding. The AI will be able to recognize that comment and will automatically gather photos and videos from that event into a single album for everyone to see, according to Android Authority.
There was also a new feature shown off for Messenger Lite, the stripped-down version of Messenger for emerging markets. Soon, users in select regions that have poor network connectivity will be able to send a message while they’re offline.
Although these features are already confirmed to be under development, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of them will be made available to users. However, it does look like Facebook still has a lot of new features that are set to arrive in 2017.
Zuckerberg finished the live stream by stating that he will also demo his home AI assistant before the end of 2016. One of the new year’s resolutions the Facebook CEO had for 2016 was to build an AI butler that’s akin to Tony Stark’s JARVIS from Marvel’s “Iron Man” films.