Facebook promises to make camera the ‘first AR platform’

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced his strategy for augmented reality (AR), in a bid to “continue extending the physical world online.”

Mark Zuckerberg during his keynote at F8

The social network will use smartphone cameras to overlay virtual items on the real world, having recently added cameras to all of Facebook’s apps as part of its 10-year roadmap to give users the power to share what they want, when they want, with anyone.

Speaking on stage at F8 – the company’s developer conference in San Jose, California – Zuckerberg explained how he had previously believed that glasses would be the first mainstream AR-enabled objects on the market. “But we’re now seeing primitive versions of this technology on our smartphones,” he said. “Even if we were a little slow to add cameras to all our apps, I’m confident we’re going to push this augmented reality platform forward.”

This technology that allows people to change their faces into fun characters is one that Snap originally pioneered. “As silly as these effects might seem, they’re actually really important and meaningful because they allow us to share what’s important to us on a daily basis,” said Zuckerberg. “On this new platform, you can create your own face filters from thousands of options across the world, and its launching in beta today.”

Alongside this latest announcement, Facebook is going one step further in an attempt to capitalise on its already dominant communications software. Zuckerberg said he’s going to launch a next generation messenger platform, that will come with new discovery tools “to help you find businesses and bots that you want to interact with,” he said. He will also open a platform for developers to make AR camera effects for Facebook’s apps, “so we can just be sitting here and if we want to play chess, here’s a chessboard and we can play together,” he said.

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