Less than a week after Facebook, Inc. (FB) was reportedly worried over a decline in user engagement, the social media giant unveiled several new gadgets at its annual F8 conference Tuesday, aimed at not only getting back its users, but also making sure users never leave its platforms. How successful will it be?
The Birth of the Facebook Ecosystem
Among the items unveiled Tuesday by Facebook was a new chatbot integrated in the Messenger app. The chatbots, with the help of artificial intelligence and natural-language processing, will be able to conduct transactions and provide information. The company also unveiled drones, new ways to stream live video, and designs for a 360-degree camera. Its virtual reality glasses stood out. (See also: Facebook F8: FB Unveils the Near Future.)
Last month, Facebook launched the first commercial Oculus Rift VR headset. But Facebook promises to take it a step further and wants to provide a VR and augmented reality (AR) headset that is integrated in 10 years – one that will more closely resemble a standard pair of glasses.
"Augmented reality gives you the ability to see the world, but also deliver overlays on top of the real world," CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained. And just how will these technologies, including a few that weren't mentioned, come together? In one sentence, Zuckerberg answered:
"Over the long run, we're building planes and satellites to connect everyone to the internet; artificial intelligence to help us interact with services more easily; and virtual reality to help us experience the world in a totally new way."
Zuckerberg displayed a 10-year roadmap for the company, highlighting three priorities: Global web connectivity, artificial intelligence, and VR/AR. Additionally, with the launch of a developer platform and an API for its Live streaming platform, it seems Facebook is focused on building an ecosystem, one that can service all the needs a user may have. (See Also: Will Virtual Reality Alter Business Reality In 2016?)
The Bottom Line
While Facebook's ambitions might appear scattered, there have been few things Zuckerberg has touched that have not turned to gold. FB shares closed Tuesday at $110.61, up 1.49%. The shares have returned 5.69% so far in 2016, compared with a 0.87% rise in the S&P 500 (SPX) index. FB stock has a consensus buy rating and an average analyst 12-month price target of $130, suggesting 22% gains from Tuesday's close.