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f8 conferenceAfter a three year hiatus, Facebook announced at South by Southwest that they would once again be hosting a developers-only conference dedicated to professionals that build technologies and services that integrate with the website and expanding suite of apps and products. Named for the related 8-hour hackathon, in the past the f8 Conferences sprouted up conveniently when the company needed to make big announcements. But this year Mark Zuckerberg committed to continuing the event annually – similar to the yearly conferences hosted by other tech bigwigs like Google and Apple.

Rather than focus on consumer launches, a mainstay of past conferences, this year’s event catered more to the interests of developers. With a reputation for drastic changes and unreliability, Facebook is attempting to legitimize their strategy and avoid any past weariness from developers and businesses that rely on their platform for their livelihoods.

Here’s a few of the major announcements from this year’s f8 conference hosted on April 30 and what we think it means for the tech community:

One Platform To Rule Them All:
Today Facebook views themselves as much more than a social network… and it’s very true. As Zuckerberg said, Facebook wants to become a “cross-platform platform” that runs across all devices and systems from iOs to Android to the web to any other new operating system that pops up. As Facebook doesn’t have a mobile operating system of their own, it’s their best bet to position themselves as an ultimate, accessible solution for all types of users and businesses. This means Facebook can be useful for many different people – from game developers looking to run the next Farmville to adtech professionals looking to utilize the valuable advertising data and beyond.

Getting Serious About Security:
Two new features will interest those with an eye on privacy. “Anonymous Login” will allow users to sign into social apps without having to share any personal account information. In addition, the new “Line-by-Line Login” will let users decide exactly what information they chose to share with apps. Through this new service, users will be able to pick and chose exactly what info to share on a case-by-case basis. While developers may lose the potential for additional access to valuable personal data, it may drive up actual user numbers from people who are willing to use the anonymous login feature.

Facebook Hashtags on TVMaking Facebook Hashtags #Useful
Facebook got a bad wrap when they implemented hastags a while back. In addition to being called out for copying Twitter’s mainstay trend-linker, some marketers claimed that including hashtags in posts actually drove down post visibility. To let developers to make the most of hashtags, new APIs will allow TV shows and media companies to visualize trending insights to show public posts on topics and actually tally real-time mention data. This will open up a whole new channel of opinion insight for developers, media analysts, and marketers.

For a detailed listing of other updates announced at f8, check out this article on Tech Crunch!

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