By Dalvin Brown for USA Today
Facebook kicked off its annual developer conference on Tuesday where the tech giant announced the big changes coming to its family of apps.
At the multi-day conference, the social networking giant unveiled a redesign for Facebook, updates for Instagram and a new dating feature called Secret Crush. Facebook also said Messenger will eventually take up less of your smartphone’s storage and the company says it’s diving deeper into the world of augmented reality.
Here’s everything you need to know:
Facebook is overhauling the mobile app for the fifth time ever.
The company is calling the redesign “FB5,” and it will roll out over the next few months. One of the most visible changes so far is the elimination of the big blue bar at the top of the screen that Facebook has been known for.
The company is also reinventing the way users engage with Groups and Events.
Groups will be easier to find and easier to participate in, Facebook said in a blog post.
The tech giant also said that the social networking app is home to tens of millions of active groups that users find “meaningful.”
“With this in mind, we’re rolling out a fresh new design for Facebook that’s simpler and puts your communities at the center. We’re also introducing new tools that will help make it easier for you to discover and engage with groups of people who share your interests,” Facebook said in a blog post.
There’s also a fresh Events tab that will make it easier for users to see what’s going on around them, discover local businesses and get recommendations.
The photo-sharing app has a new camera mode, and it’s testing out features to “lead the fight against bullying.”
Create Mode will let you create a post for Stories that isn’t a photo or video, something that is sure to be popular with users who want to add text to a solid color background. The camera in Instagram Stories is also becoming easier to spot as it has been hard to figure out for some users.
Another new feature will enable any influencer or celebrity to tag an article of clothing they’re wearing so followers can buy them within the Instagram app.
Instagram is also running a beta test to hide the like count from photos and view count from videos in an effort to get users to pay attention to the content itself and not engagement metrics that often cause people to compare themselves to others.
Instagram said that the “private likes” test would begin later this week for users in Canada.
Facebook Messenger’s mobile app is getting smaller.
The company said it’s creating a new version that will use less of your smartphone’s battery power and take up less than 30MB of storage. The new app will also launch faster, in under 2 seconds to be exact, Facebook said.
Messenger will also be available on the desktop.
“People want to seamlessly message from any device, and sometimes they just want a little more space to share and connect with the people they care about most,” Facebook said in a statement.
WhatsApp for Business
The private messenger isn’t changing much.
The only notable addition is a new Catalogs for a business feature that’s launching in the months ahead. With that feature, people will be able to see what’s available from businesses participating in WhatsApp Business when the feature rolls out later this year.
“This is going to be especially important for all of the small businesses out there that don’t have a web presence, and that are increasingly using private social platforms is their main way of interacting with their customers,” said Zuckerberg onstage.
AR and VR expansion
Zuckerberg also announced that Oculus will start shipping two new virtual-reality headsets, the Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest, later in May. Each will cost $399.
Pre-orders for both headsets begin immediately.
Facebook also relaunched Oculus for Business with the intention of supporting an ecosystem of business administrators, developers and end users. Oculus for Business is designed to streamline and expand virtual reality in the workplace.