Facebook wants to augment your reality

Isaac Cain
April 20, 2017

AR Studio is a new Mac app in the Facebook FB, -0.33% suite of products - available Tuesday in closed beta - that lets users design, build and implement their own unique augmented-reality effects.

Wearing his signature gray t-shirt and blue jeans on the first day of Facebook's signature F8 Developer Conference in San Jose, Zuckerberg on Tuesday spoke about a new way for developers to create features into Facebook's built-in camera that add digital graphics to the real world you see through the lens.

Facebook also launched a virtual world, called Facebook Spaces, created to let users of its Oculus Rift VR headset hang out with avatar versions of their friends in a virtual world. The new Automated Insights tool uses advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence to bring valuable insights directly to you such as changes in purchases for a new version of your app.

According to Zuckerberg, Facebook's future prospects focus on augmented reality based on technology that overlays digital imagery onto the real world like Snapchat's signature camera filters.

"I think everyone would basically agree that we do not have the science or technology today to build the AR glasses that we want", Zuckerberg said. The new feature will be used for Facebook video calls and virtual reality headset Oculus Rift. Here's how the iPhone 8 could turn augmented reality into a must-have hardware feature, no Facebook account required. Rumor has it that Apple's 10th anniversary iPhone will include dual-lens cameras on both the front and back with augmented reality features, and Apple CEO Tim Cook has been bullish on AR in a slew of statements over the previous year.

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Facebook was not mindlessly copying Snapchat with its recent update on its various platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Further, Chat Extensions allows multiple people to chat with the same business at the same time. That would, for instance, allow groups of friends to share Spotify playlists or to make a restaurant reservation through OpenTable that keeps everyone on the same page.

Mr Zuckerberg also briefly addressed the Cleveland murder case, in which a man posted video of a fatal shooting on Facebook. That raised questions about Facebook's ability to monitor gruesome material on its site.

When asked about the perception of Facebook being less innovative, Zuckerberg said, "I guess I'm not that anxious about that".

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