Facebook F8 is the conference Facebook holds annually for its engineers and designers, giving them a sneak peek into what's changing on the social network and revealing new products and features.
Named after the Facebook tradition of holding an eight-hour hackathon after the presentations, the one-day Facebook F8 event is held in San Francisco and is hosted by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, with keynotes, developer sessions and announcements rolling out plans for the next year.
We've translated the developer jargon and summarised everything the regular Facebook user needs to know about how their profile will change in the next few months.
1 Use Facebook to log in anonymously on other sites
Facebook’s identity system, which lets users login to other apps and services with their Facebook account, is getting a privacy boost.
The new system will allow users to log into third-party apps anonymously so that they can try out the apps before deciding to provide them with their personal information.
Facebook can still record which apps are being used, but those apps can't record any personal data.Once the user is happy sharing data with the app, they can chose what is and isn’t shared, so certain information, like birthdays or friends lists, can stay hidden hidden.
The new anonymous login features will be rolling out soon.
2 Facebook's new ad network may mean fewer ads in your newsfeed
Facebook makes money by using its data about users to sell targeted ads to advertisers. That advertising business has just been bolstered by the launch of Facebook’s own advertising network - the Facebook Audience Network, or Fan.
Fan allows developers to use Facebook’s ad-targeting systems as well as its ad service to generate money from their apps, in the same way that Apple has iAds and Google AdMob.
The ads will take the form of traditional banner ads in mobile apps, as well as large boxes. Facebook aims to make its ads slightly higher quality than some others, making sure that publishers can only show one ad on screen at any one time, and that they don't obscure buttons or generally causes irritation.
Advertisers won't get access to a user’s private data, but the different way Facebook is using its powerful trove of targeting data shows it is starting to think about how to use this across other sites and services.
As a result, there is less pressure for the social network to push ads on Facebook, which could eventually see a reduction in ads in your News Feed, maybe.
3 No more half-baked experimental features
Zuckerberg went to pains to point out that Facebook has grown up, moving beyond its “move fast and break things” mentality to that of a more mature company.
As a result the Zuckerberg pledged to fix major bugs in Facebook within 48 hours, and said the company would no longer rush to change things unless they had been thoroughly tested. That should make Facebook more stable.
4 Easier linking between apps
Facebook will launch a new mobile app called AppLinks, which aims to make it easier to use links that switch between apps and web pages.
In April 2013 Facebook bought Parse, a back-end cloud service for apps, on which AppLinks service is based. Evernote users, for example, could click on a link to an Evernote doc in an email, which would automatically open the Evernote app, but revert back to the email when done.
Both Android and Apple’s iOS have a basic ability to do that, but Facebook wants to make the whole experience uniform across mobiles, tablets and desktop, and is offering AppLinks as an open-source initiative - presumably to offer better integration between third-party apps and Facebook apps.
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