Apr 19, 2017

Facebook's AR camera platform to encourage developers, bring people closer

BYPankaj Mishra

Giving a fresh impetus to its augmented reality (AR) dream, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has outlined a new AR platform for developers to encourage AR camera effects.
Wearing his signature gray T-shirt and blue jeans on the first day of Facebook’s signature F8 Developer Conference in San Jose, Zuckerberg on Tuesday spoke about a new way for developers to create features into Facebook’s built-in camera that add digital graphics to the real world you see through the lens.
People are already using the cameras on their phones to write text on images, add digital objects and modify existing things with face filters and style transfers.
“That’s why today (Tuesday) we announced the Camera Effects Platform, giving developers the power to build AR tools for the camera and bring people together in new ways,” Zuckerberg told over 4,000 people at at the McEnery Convention Centre in San Jose as millions watched the keynote via Facebook Live.
He stressed that AR-powered camera effects would change the way people interact with friends on the social network.
The Camera Effects Platform includes two products: Frames Studio and AR Studio. Frames Studio is an online creative editor, now available globally, that allows people to design frames that can be used either as profile picture frames or in the new Facebook camera.
AR Studio, now open for beta applications, can be used to create masks, scripted effects, animated frames and other AR technologies that react to movement, the environment or interactions during Live videos.
Facebook Spaces is a new VR app where you hang out with friends in a fun, interactive virtual environment as if you were in the same room. It was launched in beta for Oculus Rift on Tuesday.
With Facebook Spaces, you can view Facebook content with friends in VR, including 360-degree videos and photos that can transport you to new places.
You can draw in the air with a virtual marker to create anything you can dream up, from a decorative hat to a handmade tic-tac-toe board.
Facebook also announced a new programme for developers all over the world to connect, learn, and collaborate with other local developers.
Developer Circles is a community-driven programme that’s free to join and open to any developer. Each Developer Circle is led by members of the local community who act as leads for the circle, organising events offline and managing a local online Facebook community.
The company also launched the Places Graph, providing free access to data on more than 140 million places around the world. These places include everything from public spaces and parks, to restaurants, stores and other local businesses.
The data includes place names, addresses, photos, Facebook consumer ratings and more.
Apps can use this data to create location-aware experiences that help people learn more about where they are so they can make informed decisions about where to go and what to do.
Since the Messenger Platform debuted a year ago, the ecosystem has more than 1.2 billion people, 100,000 developers and 100,000 monthly active bots, and two billion messages are sent between people and businesses on Messenger every month.
Facebook announced a new “Discover” tab that allows people to find the bot for Messenger they’re looking for in an intuitive and thoughtful way, right from the home screen in Messenger.
“We’ve also enabled discovery in the physical world with new parametric Messenger codes. This gives people the option to scan Messenger Codes through the Messenger camera and link to their favourite brands and businesses,” Facebook said in a statement.
Facebook also added chat extensions to the Messenger app that allow multiple people to chat with the same business at the same time.
People can now add in a bot directly in a group thread and share the conversation and experience.

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Pankaj Mishra is a writer of FactorDaily.