What The Tech? Facebook's new features - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

What The Tech? Facebook's new features

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Get ready. Facebook's about to bring it!

At its annual developer conference (F8), Facebook announced a slew of new features and products that it hopes will keep users on the social network longer. If that's even possible.

The social network is embracing the virtual reality technology it invested millions in when it purchased Oculus Rift a few years ago.

Rather than going all-in on the virtual of virtual reality, Facebook is investing time in augmented reality.

The difference in the two is significant but for most users, the two are the same.

Augmented reality though is the technology used by apps such as Pokemon Go which mixes reality with the virtual world. Rather than only seeing the images from the virtual world, in augmented reality you see images placed atop what you see with your eyes.

Facebook's 'reality' will look like this: You're talking with some friends on Facebook about a party or trip, rather than just texting back and forth or through a video call, augmented reality allows everyone in that conversation to see each other as if they're in the same room.

Users will see themselves as a cartoon that is created from their profile pictures.

You are a come-to-life avatar along with all of your friends.

You will be sitting around a table and can share videos as you talk.

The example shown by Facebook has one person's cartoon avatar picking up a ball and as they toss it, it transforms into the video or photo they're talking about.

You hear the person or people engaging in the conversation, but you're seeing them all in a virtual world.

It's very cool. Seriously.

I was amazed at what's to come.

Facebook is also investing more in games.

The company said 800 million people play Facebook games every month so developers are building even more games that can be played together through the app or through virtual or augmented reality.

Users will also be able to stream their games live on Facebook and it sounds very similar to what gamers are doing now on Twitch and YouTube.

Bots are big in Facebook's long-term plans.

The company launched them last year in Messenger but they were over-hyped and not many people use them.

Facebook thinks they're the future in Messenger and is opening up the development so more businesses can build their own bots.

They're called 'bots' because they're similar to robots.

Rather than having to call a business to ask for hours or to order something, users can tap on a bot to be instantly connected to the business' Facebook page and receive automated responses.

Facebook is also organizing them in a new Discover area so they're not taking up a lot of space in a user's Messenger app but can be searched for or browsed through.

Of course some of Facebook's new features are similar to (some say ripoff) things you have in Instagram and Snapchat.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the crowd not to expect all of these things to show up overnight but that the company continues to tweak and we will start seeing them roll out over the next several years.

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