At the annual F8 developer conference, Facebook launched the Camera Effects platform, which will help push augmented reality into the mainstream.
Facebook, which has recently drawn criticism for copying features of Snapchat, has just been laying the foundation for Camera Effects, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook Launches Camera Effects
The Camera Effects platform will allow third-party developers to create augmented reality image filters and other forms of interactive experiences. The effects will be first made available through the Camera feature of the Facebook app in smartphones, but they will eventually be integrated into future hardware such as augmented reality glasses.
In Zuckerberg's demonstration at the F8 conference, he showed off several camera effects. In addition, he mentioned that the camera feature of Facebook Stories, which was released last month, will soon have thousands of augmented reality effects. These effects will go beyond the filters and frames seen today and will allow users to insert 3D objects and text into their images.
Zuckerberg also demonstrated how the Facebook Camera can convert a 2D picture into a 3D image, with a regular-looking office being transformed into one filled with water, bouncy balls, and candy.
Facebook is launching Camera Effects with six developer partners who will be building augmented reality lenses and features for the Facebook Camera. Interested developers may apply to join the program, while users will see new augmented reality content being added to the Facebook app as they are approved.
Zuckerberg Disputes Facebook As Snapchat Clone
Facebook has been criticized for adding features that resemble those that can be found in Snapchat. Among the copied features are Facebook Stories and camera effects, Messenger Day, and WhatsApp Status.
Zuckerberg defended the social network's actions, stating that Facebook was only laying the groundwork for Camera Effects.
"The first chapter that made sense was to release products that people were familiar with ... but the unique thing that we're going to do is we're not just going to build basic cameras, we're going to build the first mainstream augmented reality platform," Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg scoffed at the critics who claim that Facebook is no longer innovating, stating that all the features that the social network has been rolling out are just part of a larger move into augmented reality.
The Future Of Augmented Reality
With the features being added to Facebook and the Camera Effects Platform building up toward a bigger augmented reality initiative, users could not help but wonder how the technology may look like in the future.
One glimpse into the future was revealed by Zuckerberg at the F8 conference, when he said that physical TVs may be replaced by a TV app that users can project onto any wall through augmented reality glasses.
The technology will not only apply to TVs but also to other electronic devices such as smartphones. Zuckerberg, however, noted that it will be a long road to realizing that vision of the future.
While Facebook may look like it is simply copying Snapchat's features to remain in step with a rival app, the company may be taking the lead in ushering in a new kind of technology focused on augmented reality.