Apr 19, 2017

Everything Facebook unveiled on Day 1 of its conference

Facebook kicked off its annual development conference Tuesday amid a fresh controversy over its Live video service, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg was solely focused on Fast and Furious jokes and augmented reality.

Main takeaway: Virtual reality may someday be the next big thing, but for the foreseeable future, using devices like smartphones to decorate, distort, animate, or annotate the world around us is Facebook's next frontier. And with Snapchat already calling dibs on the "camera company" slogan and whimsical lenses, augmented reality will also be the battleground from these two social media companies.

The big news from Day 1:

  • Camera Effects Platform: A set of software tools for developers and creators that lets them build filters and effects that can recognize objects and add 3D effects to photos and videos. Expect Facebook to continue to add to and improve these tools over time as it's banking on them to keep its service relevant and interesting for both developers and users.
  • Facebook Spaces for Oculus: A new virtual reality app for hanging out with friends, combining Facebook's roots as a social network and its new interest in VR. But unlike camera-based augmented reality, socializing in a world of avatars might not be the norm for a while given it requires special devices and technology that's still in its early days.
  • Messenger 2.0: Admitting that last year's release of chat bots wasn't as polished as it could have been, Facebook came back with new and improved ones, along with other fresh features for its messaging app. It's clear Facebook wants to turn Messenger into the way businesses interact with customers, so it's giving them as many tools as it can to achieve that.
  • And more: Facebook's other announcements on Tuesday include bots and partnerships for its workplace service, new javascript frameworks, a tool for making Android apps, a password recovery tool, and new analytics tools for businesses. TechCrunch has a great overview of these.

What's next: On Day 2, Facebook is expected to unveil new gadgets its secretive Building 8 unit has been developing.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 684,652 — Total deaths: 32,113 — Total recoveries: 145,696.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 125,313 — Total deaths: 2,191 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: Trump announces new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but rules out quarantine enforcement.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die.
  5. State updates: Alaska issues a stay-at-home order — New York tries to nearly triple hospital capacity in less than a month and moves presidential primary to June 23.
  6. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Inside the start of the great virus airlift

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A plane from Shanghai arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York Sunday morning carrying an extraordinary load: 12 million gloves, 130,000 N-95 masks, 1.7 million surgical masks, 50,000 gowns, 130,000 hand sanitizer units, and 36,000 thermometers.

Why this matters: The flight is the start of what might end up being the largest government-led airlift of emergency medical supplies into the United States.

Go deeperArrow30 mins ago - Health

Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from coronavirus

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that models suggest the coronavirus will infect millions of Americans and could kill 100,000–200,000, though he stressed that the projections are "such a moving target."

Why it matters: Fauci has been the coronavirus task force's most outspoken advocate for emergency social distancing measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, sometimes contradicting President Trump's more optimistic outlook.