Facebook’s F8 conference kicked off and Mark Zuckerberg stood onstage and paused his presentation for a moment. “If you take one thing away with you from today, this is it: We’re making the camera the first augmented-reality platform.”
Facebook will rely on an army of outside developers to contribute augmented reality image filters and interactive experiences.
We simply assumed that was Snapchat as they have even rooled out the AR world lens cameras in their most recent update(both on iOS and Andriod). The same tech used for the cool face filters in Snapchat to place 3-D objects in the real world, using the rear-facing camera in a way that feels much more anchored in reality than the stickers previously available.
It’s hard not to get the feeling that someone at Snapchat knew what was coming at F8 today, because Zuckerberg quickly ran through what he meant by “making the camera the first augmented-reality platform,” and it’s a vision that makes Snapchat’s World Lenses seem primitive in comparison. As Zuckerberg laid it out, your smartphone camera will act as a window into a world filled with digital information, overlaid on top of the physical world.
First up were face masks and photo filters, but instead of the few dozen that Snapchat designs in-house and offers a handful at a time, Facebook says it will open it up to developers and make available thousands of face masks and filters. Unlike Snapchat, which creates its owns filters, working closely with brands while making sure that the Snapchat vision remains on point, Facebook seems willing to let thousands of devs, designers, and artists “of all different kinds of cultures and background and styles” into the pool.
So Facebook has spent most of the past six months slowly ripping off the core concepts of Snapchat. It brought its disappearing video stories to Instagram — and successfully got more people using it than they do Snapchat. It brought over instantly entertaining face masks and put them on Facebook Camera as Effects. It even copied Snapchat’s “geofilters,” where certain effects are only available if users are in a certain location. About the only thing Facebook hasn’t copied from Snapchat are Bitmoji, and that’s likely only because Snapchat bought the company for $100 million in mid-2016. But if Facebook can really deliver high-quality alternate-reality platform via your camera, it won’t just be taking Snapchat’s successful ideas — it will be innovating on top of them.