Reality is boring. This is the message that Facebook shared with the world at its annual developer conference: F8. Held in San Jose, the event kicked off yesterday, 18th of April and goes on till the 19th of April. This year, Facebook seems to be all about AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality). So much so that the Social Media giant announced a multitude of apps to make use of these technologies. So what exactly was announced at F8 2017?
Firstly, there’s the Camera Effects Platform
As per Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote speech, Facebook unveiled its Camera Effects Platform to developers. This platform helps them create augmented reality experiences with the in-app cameras. The key thing here is that developers get to tap into Facebook’s investments in machine learning and AI to build augmented reality experiences. And from the demo’s we saw they can be very powerful. One demo showed a simple 2D image of an office transformed into a 3D one and then filled with Skittles. Another demo showed how the platform can identify individual objects like a coffee cup and then add some virtual steam to it.
The platform itself is divided into two secondary platforms.The first one is Frame Studio, which allows anyone to create their own virtual frames for images. Once again, this too doesn’t require any coding knowledge. All you have to do is simply design the frame and then it goes through an approval process. Once approved, you’ll find it inside the Facebook camera app. At the moment however, Facebook won’t allow any branding or advertising unless it’s pre-approved. However, the second more exciting one is AR Studio.
AR studio, allows anyone to build AR experiences without typing a single of code. Of course, you can create richer experiences with its code. But what kind of experiences can you build with AR Studio? Mind blowing ones. During one of the demos at F8 2017 we saw Deb Liu – VP of Platform and Marketplace show how EA games used AR Studio to not only give a filter with a virtual helmet. We also saw that AR Studio can introduce virtual objects into the real world like spaceships, scoreboards during football games and even gifs! The possibilities in world of AR are limitless and Facebook has made it easier to realize them.
Do more with Messenger
From sending emojis, to gifs to even sending money, Facebook’s Messenger app has even replaced the stock messaging app on our smartphones. But that’s not all it can do. Messenger bots can now be added to group conversations.
As we learned at F8 2017, these bots would provide information such as ongoing events, share music via Spotify, book flights, and a host of other features. In addition, Messenger is also launching a dedicated discovery tab and bunch of new QR codes. Simply scan the code and you will be taken directly to a conversation with a bot.
Use VR to be with your friends in Facebook Spaces
If you are not the outgoing type or you have a busy day ahead of you and don’t have time to hang out with your friends, Facebook believes they have the answer. This is where Facebook Spaces comes into play. As we saw at F8 2017, this is a virtual world where you and your friends are represented by cartoonish avatars. Once in the world, you can explore, play games, share photos, and even take a selfie.
The catch here is that in order for this to work, you need the Oculus Rift along with a VR capable PC, both of which would cost around $1,000 and upwards. As a solution, Facebook is also working on making a PC-free, wireless, high-quality headset that is also affordable. It would need to come out pretty fast though.
What do you think about Facebook’s new developments? Love it? Hate it? We would love to hear your feedback.