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YouTube Stories Gets AR Selfie Tools Similar To Snapchat

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AR filters are now available in YouTube Stories. Google announced in a blog post that the AR effects tool uses machine learning to help create filters that are more realistic without needing a dedicated depth sensor.  ( Pixabay )

Google rolls out the new AR effects tool on YouTube Stories. Similar to other filters available on Snapchat and Instagram, the AR filters on YouTube Stories also feature 3D hats, glasses, and masks.

The only difference: Google says YouTube Stories' AR effects have the best filters out there, all thanks to machine learning.

AR Effects And Machine Learning

Google, in a recent blogpost, detailed how these AR effects work. According to Google Research AI engineers Ivan Grishchenko and Artsiom Ablavatski, to properly render AR objects into the real world, they used perceptive technologies that can track "highly dynamic surface geometry," an element that varies from every individual's facial expressions.

YouTube Stories AR filters are comparable to Apple's Animoji, but it can do away with a dedicated depth sensor. Basically, it can work even with a single camera, as it uses machine learning to infer a 3D surface geometry and enable visual effects. The result is a more precise and refined virtual content overlay.

"Our ML pipeline consists of two real-time deep neural network models that work together: A detector that operates on the full image and computes face locations, and a generic 3D mesh model that operates on those locations and predicts the approximate surface geometry via regression," Grishchenko and Ablavatski explained.

3D mesh and AR effects
(Photo : Google AI Blog) 3D mesh and AR effects

Simply put, the 3D mesh and detector work together to crop faces, reduce noise, and track movements to produce more realistic filters.

Google's Augmented Reality

For now, these AR filters are only available to a number of YouTube creators. For the uninitiated, YouTube Stories — first launched as Reels in 2017 — is only available to creators with 10,000 subscribers or more. Like Snapchat, the uploads also expire after a certain amount of time, seven days to be exact.

Aside from YouTube Stories, Google is also bringing AR capabilities to Maps. Last month, the Mountain View company started testing an AR navigation feature for Maps, which uses a phone's camera and Google Street View data to help find a user's exact spot. In addition to GPS tracking, the AR-powered Google Maps also uses Visual Positioning System.

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