What to expect from Facebook’s F8 developer conference

Image: Katya Akudovich
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At Facebook’s F8 developer conference today and tomorrow, the social network will likely use its stage to connect the dots between its disparate products and recent acquisitions.

Facebook, whose stock hit a new record yesterday, closing at $85.46, made two high-profile acquisitions in the last year, buying the virtual-reality startup Oculus VR for $2 billion and paying a whopping $19 billion for the messaging app WhatsApp.

Facebook is clearly betting on both these platforms to drive growth. With WhatsApp, it gains a younger user base, and both these companies could help Facebook gain a foothold in China, where the social network is currently banned.

In the days leading up to the conference, reports suggest that Facebook is talking with media companies about hosting their content on the site. And on the heels of announcing a new feature that lets users send money over Facebook Messenger, there’s speculation that Facebook will turn its chat app into a platform for third-party apps. According to a recently published screenshot, Facebook also appears to be working on an Android app called Phone that shows information about incoming calls and ignores calls from commonly blocked numbers.

Judging by the F8 event schedule, Facebook Login (which lets users log in to third-party apps with their Facebook accounts) and its mobile app platform Parse—both big themes from last year’s conference—will again play prominent roles this year.

In particular, it seems that Facebook is positioning Parse as a development platform for connected devicesVideo, which Facebook is heavily investing in with highly targeted ads, will likely garner a fair amount of attention as well. In February, Facebook had 90.4 million viewers, coming second to Google’s 144.6 million, according to comScore.

As is common with such conferences, Facebook will be making a strong case for why developers should build and monetize their apps on its platform, as opposed to competitors such as Yahoo, Apple, Google, Amazon, or Microsoft. Yahoo just had its first mobile developer conference in February, and the rest are hosting their own confabs in the coming months.

All these tech companies are busily wooing developers, banking on them to drive growth, engagement, and ultimately revenue.