April 19, 2017:Facebook f8: Spotify / Apple Music, bot ambitions and major AR push

Facebook f8: Spotify / Apple Music, bot ambitions and major AR push

“Being able to click on someone’s music and play it is a great experience, but knowing that you helped a friend discover something new, and that you have the same taste in music, is awesome,” said Mark Zuckerberg.

No, not yesterday at Facebook’s f8 developer conference: that quote is from f8 back in 2011, when Facebook debuted ‘frictionless’ music-sharing on its service with Spotify and other streaming partners.

The streaming services cooled on the idea fairly quickly, but now in 2017 there’s a new music push on Facebook – this time around messaging.

This quote WAS from yesterday at f8. “Music on Messenger is going to be a good thing this year,” said Facebook’s messaging boss David Marcus.

The first iteration of which is a feature called ‘chat extensions’ that will make it easier for Spotify and Apple Music listeners (and those of other services in time, surely) to share and play music with Messenger friends.

“People can search and share Spotify songs, albums, and playlists directly with friends without ever leaving the Messenger app,” is how Spotify explained it, although these are 30-second preview clips within Messenger, with Spotify’s app providing the full versions.

Spotify is going further with music and Facebook Messenger though. It’s launching its own bot for the platform that will provide playlist recommendations.

It’s early days for the bot based on our test of it this morning: essentially an open prompt to respond to the question ‘what kind of music are you looking for?’, with variable results.

Still, in the spirit of minimum viable products, it’s good to see streaming services exploring bots and conversational interfaces – an area that includes experiments with smart speakers like Alexa and Google Home too.

More from f8: Facebook is preparing for the next big push with Messenger bots. Its app now has a ‘Discovery’ tab to help people find new bots to interact with: sorted into featured and trending lists, as well as a search function.

That should be good news for the growing number of artist bots, as well as independent music and concert-discovery bots like Record Bird and Karl that are getting off the ground. “Last year was all foundational stuff. We built all the foundations and the elements. This year is all about scale,” Marcus told Marketing Land.

Finally, outside the world of messaging and bots, the big story from f8 so far is Facebook’s determination to focus even more on augmented reality (AR).

CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled something called Camera Effects, which is a platform for developers to create their own AR lenses for Facebook’s camera feature.

“We’re not just going to build basic cameras, we’re going to build the first mainstream augmented reality platform,” Zuckerberg told TechCrunch. “Building an open platform I think is going to be one of the big advances that pushes this forward.”

Stuart Dredge
READ MORE: Analysis News
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