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What’s New with Facebook? Augmented Reality and More

Facebook has bet big on augmented reality and rolled out some cool extensions to its apps. Here’s a round-up of F8.

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Tech News
2 min read
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the F8 Conference. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2017/04/f8-2017-day-1/">Facebook Newsroom</a>)

Facebook may be a little late to the party, but it wants its share of the pie nonetheless. At its annual developer conference, F8, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg bet big on augmented reality (AR).

Facebook is launching a camera platform on which it wants developers to work on new AR effects. It’s not just about filters and smiley faces, like the kind SnapChat uses, but to also allow object recognition and machine learning to make for an interactive experience, Zuckerberg said.

AR is not new. In fact, the most prominent example of AR is Pokémon Go, the augmented-reality game that overlaid Pokémon characters in real world locations. Zuckerberg sees huge potential in this. During his keynote at F8, he spoke of not having to buy a television, but “just a $1 app instead”.

Facebook’s AR plans go beyond just filters. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/zuck">Facebook</a>)
Facebook’s AR plans go beyond just filters. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook)

To watch TV, all you need to do is point your AR-enabled glasses at a blank wall, and voila! live television playing on the wall. According to Zuckerberg, this technology has plenty of potential. For instance, friends can leave secret messages for other friends on café walls, which are invisible to others.

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Zuckerberg sees AR as an extension to Facebook’s virtual reality (VR) plans that it is already working on, after having bought Oculus in 2014.

Speaking of VR, Facebook is releasing a VR app called Facebook Spaces for the Oculus Rift VR headset. It is a virtual hangout session, where you can virtually sit and interact with up to three other friends in a virtual world.

At F8, there were a few other developments that Zuckerberg highlighted, such as an Apple Music extension to Facebook Messenger. The Messenger app will also support turn-based games, QR-code recognition, as well as further enhancement of Messenger’s virtual assistant M. It can now throw up suggestions and offer to make purchases for you, based on what you are chatting about. M’s always listening.

Excited? Wait for these developments to roll out soon in India too.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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