We think that you should just be able to message a business in the same way you would message a friend. You should get a quick response and it shouldn’t take your full attention like a phone call would and you shouldn’t have to install a new app. So today we are launching Messenger Platform, so you can build Bots for Messenger. And it’s a simple platform that is powered by Artificial Intelligence, so you can build natural language services to communicate directly with people.
So let’s take a look. So CNN, for example, is going to be able to send you a daily digestive stories right into Messenger. And the more you use it, the more personalized it will get, and if you want to learn about a specific topic, like say the Supreme Court nomination or the Zika virus, you just send a message and it will send you that information.
Or take 1800Flowers, I love this one. Now if you want to send a message, flower, you don’t have to install a new app, or into your credit card again, you just send a message. And I bet that’s not where you thought those flowers are going to. I know someone who is sitting here today who also thought that those were not who those flowers were going to. Now I have to say – I love this one. I found it pretty ironic because now to order from 1800Flowers, you never have to call 1800Flowers again.
So Messenger is going to be the next big platform for sharing privately and for helping you connect with services in all kinds of new ways. We’re going to talk about this more in a second.
All right. We are also at the beginning of a golden age of online video. And earlier this month, we opened up Live video to everyone, and the response so far has been pretty amazing. People watch Live videos longer and they comment more than 10 times as much as on regular videos. People love going live because it’s so unfiltered and personal and you feel like you’re just there hanging with your friends. And in a funny way, we found that live takes some of the pressure off of having to find that perfect photo or video, because everyone knows it’s live, and it’s not curated.
Public figures love going Live too, because they are getting huge audiences. We’re seeing TV stars get bigger audiences on Live than they get on their TV shows. So we’re going to build this out. We’re making it a prominent tab in the Facebook app where you can go see what your friends and other people around the world are doing live right now.
Just the other week, I saw a live video of a woman with her young kids skiing down the hill, and it was just mesmerizing. I watched it for like a few minutes because I was just – I am like I really want to make sure these kids get down this hill. You know, there is usually people who are playing music or dancing in there, and then every once in a while there is something that’s really important and special happening. Like a couple of days ago, a woman named Lina commented on one of my posts to tell me that when her mother was sick in the hospital, she streamed her wedding on Live so her mother and her friends across the country could not only see it, but could be there with them. Now that’s pretty meaningful.
So that’s a preview of Live. And today we have a developer announcement around Live too. We are opening up our Live API so now you can build the ability to stream video to Facebook live right into any device. Like for example, this drone flying in from the back of the room — come here, come here. DJI is one of our partners, and this little guy is going to be flying around and streaming F8 live all day together today. So hi everyone. All right, bye bye, drone.
All right. So we have Messenger platform and Live. And these are two of the new ecosystems that we’re going to focus on building out over the next five years, to give everyone in the world the power to share anything they want, with anyone.
So that brings us to 10 years. Over the long term we’re focused on three major areas: connecting everyone to the internet; artificial intelligence to make services more intuitive and natural to use; and virtual and augmented reality, to help us share and experience the world in a much richer way.
So I want to start off by talking about connectivity. So right now more than half of the world, more than 4 billion people don’t have access to the internet. And it turns out that there are three main reasons for why people don’t have access. The first is availability. You don’t live near a network. That’s about a billion people. The second is affordability. You live near a network but you can’t afford to use it. That’s another billion people. And the third reason, which is actually the biggest of all, is awareness – which is you do live near a network and you can afford to use it, but you are not sure why you would spend some of your money on buying a data plan. And that’s about another 2 billion people. So we’re going to work on all of these different barriers.
This is the killer. It’s a solar-powered plane that we’ve designed to beam down internet from the sky. And if you had told me 12 years ago that one day Facebook was going to build a plane, I would have told you that you were crazy. But here we are. It has a wingspan wider than a 737 but it weighs less than a small car. It has solar panels on the whole width of the wings, so it can fly at about 60,000 feet in the air which is about twice as high up as normal commercial flight and it can stay in the air beaming down internet for a few months at a time.
Now check this out. This is an engine bot. This is one of them to give you a sense of the scale. And this is – it’s made of carbon fibers, so it’s actually pretty light. There are about eight of these on each plane, so we’re going to end up building a lot of these for our fleet.
All right. In a few months, we’re going to launch our first satellite into space to connect sub-Saharan Africa and people who don’t have access the networks there. And tomorrow you’re going to hear about two powerful new systems we’ve built to improve connectivity on the ground in urban and rural areas. So we’re really going at this problem from every possible angle.
Now, then there is also affordability. And we can reduce people’s data costs in two ways: Use less data and make data cheaper. So to reduce data consumption, we’ve built a wide framework for our apps. So now we can build apps that take about a quarter as much data as normal apps do.
We’ve also open sourced a tool that I encourage you to check out, called Augmented Traffic Control. And it makes it easier for you to develop services for the next billion people coming online in all different countries around the world by letting you simulate network conditions and all these kinds of different places. So you should check this one out.
Now to make data cheaper, we’re building open source infra for telcos. So it’s kind of like what we have done with the Open Compute Project, and the idea is that if we can make it cheaper for telcos to operate their global infrastructure, then some of those cost savings are going to be passed along to people in the form of lower data prices.
All right. Now finally, we are also working on awareness, by helping people who don’t have access, experience the value of the internet for free. So Free Basics is an open platform that any developer can build for to offer basic internet services to people for free without them having to pay. So they are tools like for education or health, or basic communication services. In Indonesia, people are using a service [Jopong] to find jobs and make job listings. In Columbia, people are using a service 1doc3 to find doctors and get medical advice for free.
Free Basics is already available in 37 countries and it has already given access to internet services to more than $25 million, which makes it one of the most successful connectivity initiatives in the world. And today we are launching the Free Basics Simulator, so now you can see how your services are going to appear on the platform. All right. So that’s connectivity.