Facebook in recent times has been plagued with major controversies involving their handling of data meant to be private down to fake news and hate speech. Finally, there is some good news for Facebook which revolves around augmented reality.
In Facebook’s F8 developer annual conference, it was announced that AR filters would be available across all Facebook’s products. This would introduce the filters to Facebook’s newsfeed, Instagram and, messenger. With this announcement, Facebook would most likely have one of the largest AR platforms globally.
The basis for the AR filters is the Camera Effects Platform that was unveiled by CEO Mark Zuckerberg at F8 event last year where the filter was introduced first to Facebook’s original camera with the goal of interacting with items mostly digital which can be found around the world. An example of this can be seen in selfie filters where dog ears can be seen hanging just above the head of the person taking the selfie.
However, with the introduction of AR filters to other Facebook’s products, Facebook is poised to set itself apart from its competitors. The aim of AR filters can be seen in the diversity or variation of the filters in relation to the application being used. This was emphasized on by Ficus Kirkpatrick who is an engineering director in charge of AR projects for Facebook. He explained that because no two applications are the same, the need for diversity is important. He said “while Facebook is more about intimacy between loved ones, Instagram focuses more on products and icons. This simply means that the filters will be somewhat customized depending on who is using them.
An example of the diversity of the AR filters put in place can be seen in Messenger which is more interested in activities relating to trading. David Marcus who is chief staff at Messenger discussed on how Messenger could be used to launch a new product of sneakers made by Nike who has decided to offer a tantalizing new “red carpet” sneak peek followed by a virtual close up view of the sneakers which is to allow you make your decision on whether to purchase them or not. More information about this can be found here.
He noted the fact that they are about 300000 Messenger bots which are currently active and more than 200000 developers on Messenger. He also went further to state that the first brands to embrace the AR effects on Messenger include Asus, Kia, Nike and Sephora and he talked up the possibility of other brands following suit in order to enjoy the effect of AR to their messaging experience. You can learn more here.
The new AR filters are bound to also be received on Instagram with excitement as it will be launched to users who are focused on sharing pictures and videos which no doubt suits AR filters perfectly. As said earlier, the diversity to the AR filters means that the filters will run a bit differently on Instagram.
It will introduce Instagram users to customized filters which basis lies on the account which they follow mostly. The new AR filters are also designed to allow the users to find and use filters which they would prefer from the stories of their friends or people they follow. This would mean then that if they notice or take interest in something which is new to them, they can easily use those filters by following the person who made them. You can learn more about this here
The core of all plans made by Facebook which is fundamental to the progress of AR is the Augment Reality Studio. This is a wonderfully designed piece of technology by Facebook. It is an inbuilt device or tool Facebook uses which seeks to identify various means to make and spread AR content. According to Kirkpatrick, what is so amazing about AR Studio is its simplicity. He stated that the Augment reality studio is so easy to use. He also explained that you can drag and drop elements without any complex details. He also stated that this would give artists and creators who just want to produce and design art to do so stress-free.
This highlights the crucial distinction between the applications of AR by Apple with the application of it by Facebook. While Apple is more focused on apps built for a particular purpose, Facebook is more focused on making it accessible to everyone. He emphasized that fact that Facebook is more interested in allowing their users experience shorter and simpler experiences stressing that they were interested in simply modifying what they already were using
Also sitting at the very top in terms of technological advancement is Facebook’s reality AR camera which has gone beyond masked selfies but has advanced to the level of using location markers around the world. This camera has two new upcoming features namely the Ready Player One and A Wrinkle in Time films. It works by taking one of the movie posters and then overlays it in the virtual world. You can find a video which gives an example of this here
Although Facebook has taken AR to the next level, they were not the first to implement it. That title belongs to social media apps such as Pokemon Go and Snapchat who started the concept and had success to some extent. However, in recent times, Pokemon Go’s popularity has dipped significantly and Snapchat has recorded poor user growth leaving Facebook with the opportunity to sweep in which they have done to devastating effects.
Facebook’s goal according to Kirkpatrick is to embrace the first generation of computing which is more detailed and expansive. It remains to be seen if Facebook’s AR platform can really allow their users more access to AR effects. Kirkpatrick explains that Facebook does not restrict AR developments to themselves but instead opens it up to their various developers with hopes that more ideas can be found to enable AR to succeed across all platforms owned by Facebook.
One of such developers is Perceptik, a subsidiary of H1Studio, which has been providing Augmented Reality developments services for the past 5 years. “Typically, consumer facing AR experiences need to be built and deployed via native custom apps and users have to download yet another app to experience the effect. We foresee a huge growth in demand for FB AR Camera effects due to the fact that Marketers can now reach over 2 billion users that already have Facebook installed and the barrier to entry has been lowered.”, says Shen Heng, the studio’s Director.