WHAT FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE’S DEV CONFERENCES MEAN FOR BRANDS

Since Facebook and Google essentially own the internet, their annual developer conferences can be seen as glimpses into all of our futures. Ok, not everything will ultimately see the light of day, but you can bet that most of the announcements will become reality in some iteration.

We thought we’d dissect the most recent Facebook F8 and Google I/O conferences from a brand marketing point of view. What’s on the horizon from these two tech behemoths that marketeers need to be aware of?

FACEBOOK F8 CONFERENCE

Facebook’s event took place at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose on April 18th and 19th.

Promotional image for Facebook F8 conference in California

Day one saw a captivating keynote from Mr. Zuckerberg, chock full of new announcements.

THE CAMERA

For Facebook, the camera is the most important feature on a smartphone. And they want to help you do more with it. Play games, use filters, get overlaid augmented-reality information.

Implications for brands: Loads. We can see beauty and fashion brands hosting virtual try-on experiences within the Facebook app. Products recognised by the AR function could provide overlaid info from the brand’s Facebook page, such as reviews and contact info.

Mark Zuckerburg standing on stage at the Facebook F8 conference looking enigmatic, in front of a screen with the text "We're making the camera the first augmented reality platform."

MESSENGER

Do away with Whatsapp (which, weirdly, we also own), says Zuckerberg. Messenger can be your world, a world filled with music, games and AI-powered chats with your favourite brands.

Implications for brands: Chatbots on Messenger aren’t the future because they’re already here. But they’ll get much better, looking after everything from customer service queries to ordering takeaways – and learning all the time.

AUGMENTED REALITY

Like Google, Facebook are betting big on AR. They announced a host of features to be incorporated into the FB app, including SLAM (simultaneous location and mapping) which can turn objects into gameplay surfaces

Implications for brands: We can see AR becoming a standard aspect of a brand’s Facebook page. Imagine visiting BMW’s page, holding your phone above your kitchen table and seeing their new model appear right there. It’ll happen – and soon.

Mark Zuckerberg again looking enigmatic in fron of a screen showing an image of a pair of glasses being held up to the camera with augmented reality chessboard on the table.

(All images courtesy of Facebook)

GOOGLE I/O CONFERENCE

Tech nerds from the world over descended on California’s Mountain View for the I/O event on May 17th.

Promotional graphic for the Google I/O conference 2017

The big talking points were announced by Google CEO Sundar Pichai in his keynote.

GOOGLE LENS

Google made its fortune with search, and now it’s moving from words to pictures with this major update to Goggles, its image search tool.

Implications for brands: With Lens offering overlaid AR information onto the images in its database, brands must use the opportunity to ‘own’ these interactions by getting on board early.

Man standing on stage in front of the Google I/O conference logo, he is probably also being enigmatic

GOOGLE ASSISTANT

Google’s competitor to Amazon Echo is making moves. It’s now available on iOS, and by releasing a developer’s kit they’re clearly keen to see it on a whole host of other devices.

Implications for brands: Product integration is the big one. GE and Whirlpool products are already supported, and we expect to see many more brands exploring what’s possible with Assistant integration.

GOOGLE TANGO

Tango is a smartphone camera with advanced augmented reality. A new Visual Positioning Service beta was announced at I/O that maps indoor places into 3D maps, so all manner of information can be overlaid. Crucially it doesn’t rely on wifi or GPS to operate.

Implications for brands: US store Lowe’s has had a few stores mapped, with the results so promising that they plan to roll it out to 400 more. Could this be the future of retail?

An image of a phone showing the potential for augmented reality for the future. It might be possible to walk into a store and see information aboutn products in augmented reality just by holding your phone up. It could help you find the product you want on an aisle in a supermarket or promotional material could appear around a new product.

In short, both Facebook and Google are staking the house on augmented reality. For Facebook, it’s all about enhancing shareable content, which AR certainly has the power to do.

Meanwhile Google’s aim seems to be bringing information to the masses in more potent ways. Currently this is by holding a smartphone up to real life objects. But this is cumbersome – and it makes your arm ache after a while!

An image of a mobile phone being held up on a selfie stick showing an augmented reality version of a classroom with planets floating on front of students.

So, having seen this cryptic message on its website, we have a feeling Google Glass could return with a vengeance soon…

(All images courtesy of Google)