By Paul Skeldon

This week’s Facebook Developer Conference taking place in San Jose offers a clear insight into where the company is going and some of it makes interesting reading for retailers. We have already seen its chat bot payment announcement with Mastercard, but what else should retailers be looking at? Richard Windsor, analyst at Edison Investment Research, offers his view.

Progression, but little excitement. While Facebook’s announcements at its developer conference were not exactly ground-breaking, it is clear that Facebook remains extremely commercial and is very focused on fixing its weaknesses.

Highlights from F8 include:

  • First augmented reality: Facebook has decided to re-focus on AR in what looks like a pre-emptive strike against Snapchat. This includes the launch of a new camera platform that follows up on the roll-out of camera capability to all of its apps. With the camera capability now everywhere, developers will now be able to create content that can overlay the real world as seen through a smartphone camera. This includes Snapchat-like photo and video annotations as well as combining the ability to map a 3D environment and place virtual objects within it. The aim here is to get users to spend more time within the Facebook ecosystem thereby increasing potential for monetisation.
  • Second: Artificial Intelligence. This remains a major weakness for Facebook but it does appear to have made some progress in image recognition. This makes some sense as the core competencies of its biggest AI hires are in this area. Facebook showed AI that was capable…