Facebook Announces Solar-Powered Internet Drone and Satellite, Live Video Expansion, Video Game Controllers
Eternally t-shirted billionaire Mark Zuckerberg has big plans for his community -- of 1.59 billion people.
From the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, Zuckerberg explained his plans for the next 10 years of Facebook (most elements of which didn't exist 10 years ago). In his introduction, Zuckerberg alluded to Donald Trump when speaking of "countries turning inwards" and looking at "building walls."
The CEO's colloquial dorkiness, and community-focused rhetoric, is effective at distracting away from the power he wields. This was evident in the dangle of one quote in reference to Facebook Messenger's business integrations. The app, according to Zuckerberg, was the second-most popular app on iOS globally, just behind Facebook ,and was the fastest-growing app in the U.S. last year. Facebook is baking in business interaction into the platform, such as the ability to order flowers through the messaging app.
"I've never met anyone who likes calling a business," Zuckerberg said (ahem... journalists kind of enjoy it). "We think you should be able to message a business... and get a quick response. And," Zuckerberg said, "you shouldn't have to install a new app." They certainly hope not.
Notably, the company has released an API for its live video platform -- called Live, which the company has been pushing hard for the past month particularly -- which will allow developers to integrate live video streaming into their own work, to take advantage of what the CEO referred to as a nascent "golden age" of online video.
Facebook and its subsidiary products can't grow until the four billion people who lack access to the web are given it. To that end, Zuckerberg unveiled his company's plan to build a solar-powered plane that will "beam down" Internet to the Earth, 60,000 feet below. "If you told me 10 years ago I'd be building a plane, I would've said you're crazy," said Zuckerberg. Facebook will also be launching a satellite in order to connect sub-Saharan Africa to the web.
From there, Zuckerberg's switch into product mode, outlining his company's virtual and augmented reality plans, was striking. One second, Syria. The next, video game controllers. Particularly, controllers for each hand that will make consumers' experiences with Oculus Rift, Facebook's virtual reality headset, more natural. "It's going to take a long time to make this work," Zuckerberg warned, referring specifically to augmented reality -- a type of digital display made possible through glasses which place digital objects into "real" life.
The tech leader then got very, very Oprah, announcing to the audience that they would receive a free Gear VR and Samsung phone. They clapped very hard.
"That's all we're doing," he concluded. Sarcastically.