Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Augmented reality among new features planned for Facebook

Augmented reality among new features planned for Facebook

Facebook has been building toward this goal for some time.

Rather than glasses though, Facebook will focus on a camera platform.

Asked if the company is actively working on AR glasses, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer is unequivocal: "Yes", he said, definitively. "So the camera needs to be more central than the text box in all of our apps.".

CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the crowd not to expect all of these things to show up overnight but that the company continues to tweak and we will start seeing them roll out over the next several years. The killer later used Facebook Live to boast about the shooting. Zuckerberg said new phone-based applications might let you create a three-dimensional scene from a single two-dimensional photo or splatter the walls of your house with colorful digital art. During the F8 Developers conference, Facebook asserted that both those things, as well as smartphones, would be phased out in the near future. Today, the project has a team of more than 60 people, including scientists, engineers, and system integrators.

Considering how aggressive Facebook has been in cloning Snapchat features, by adding selfie filters and the "Stories" format across its apps - this latest announcement may be a part of the social network's continued takedown strategy of the popular photo app.

While facing the rear camera, you will be presented the newly integrated 3D lenses. "We want glasses, or eventually contact lenses, that look and feel normal but that let us overlay all kinds of information and digital objects on top of the real world". They can send selfies to friends with cartoon rainbows floating above their head, Olympic gold medals on their chest, or cover their faces with a variety of colorful masks. "It's going to take a while for this to develop". As an example, Facebook executives showed how developers in different countries and cities could designed custom backdrops for their images, or draw specialized messages on them. The Camera Effects Platform includes two products: Frames Studio and AR Studio. The company's growth is largely outside driven by people outside the United States.

All of these early efforts are the necessary groundwork to get to the next phase and create glasses that, in the words of Abrash, provide "augmentation that enhances your vision and hearing seamlessly, that makes you smarter and more capable, that is light, comfortable, stylish, power efficient and socially acceptable enough to accompany you everywhere you go".

Facebook sees visual communication as the way to reverse those declines. Facebook has previously gambled on other futuristic technologies - including virtual reality with a $2 billion purchase of Oculus, the virtual reality goggles maker, in 2014 - but Zuckerberg has acknowledged that it has had difficulty finding traction.

The firm continues to see Facebook as a core large-cap Internet holding for strong topline momentum (~28% '16-'19 CAGR) driven by user and engagement growth paired with continued ad innovations (Video, Dynamic Ads etc.) across core Facebook & Instagram (with potential upside stemming from the monetization of emerging platforms) against a reasonable valuation.

It sounded as if Zuckerberg were about to lay out for his audience - the people helping to build his platform - what they all need to take seriously: That people sometimes hijack the app to broadcast gratuitous violence, to wage propaganda wars with "fake news", to bully and to hate.

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