Updated to include additional details about Facebook's announcements and analyst comments.
Facebook (FB) announced a slew of new features, including live video and improvements to its Messenger app, at today's developer conference.
Prior to the event, there had been many different reports of Facebook's plans to add new commerce tools and chatbots, as well as expand its live video efforts, but now we know what's really going on:
-- Facebook opened up its live video API (application program interface) so that developers can put it directly in their own apps and help people share more live content on Facebook. It will also help video producers stream live on devices other than a smartphone. For instance, drones made by China's DJI will be able to stream video directly to Facebook Live.
"I really like the video push because video ads have higher CPMs and so they can have fewer ad units at a higher price to drive revenue growth," said Needham & company analyst Laura Martin. "This also feels like a good defensive move because Facebook needed a response to Periscope, etc."
-- Brands can create their own Messenger chatbots, meaning that they can converse with Facebook users directly within Messenger. For example, CNN can send Messenger users a daily digest of news stories, and then users can ask for more information on a specific story.
-- You can order flowers from 1800Flowers directly within Messenger. "To order from 1800Flowers, you never have to call 1800Flowers again," CEO Mark Zuckerberg joked.
-- Sponsored messages will be introduced, but users will be able to block brands if they do not want to receive further messages. Brands can also buy ads that link to Messenger so that users can start a conversation.
-- Facebook partnered with BigCommerce to let more merchants open shops on their Facebook business page. That means they will be able to list inventory directly on the page, where users can browse and purchase items. The feature was already available to select merchants, but the partnership will expand it.
-- Facebook launched a bunch of tools to help developers build for Facebook Basics, the company's push to bring Internet to third world countries around the world.
-- App developers can use a new Facebook tool to make it easy to log in, even if users don't have a Facebook account.
-- Messenger users can receive notifications from eBay (EBAY) when an auction they bid on or are watching is about to end or if they were outbid.
An eBay notification in Messenger