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Facebook CEO sees augmented reality's future in the camera

19 April 2017

Zuckerberg showed the audience that with the new augmented reality camera features, he could upgrade a boring breakfast table by adding words, animated animals, and more. The basic examples are similar to Snapchat's geo-filters - but with more sophisticated uses because it will actually let you leave digital objects behind for your friends to discover. AR is when digital stuff is overlaid on top of the real world.

"This is a great way to bring superpowers to a conversation, share more content and basically get things done", David Marcus, the Facebook executive in charge of messaging services, said in an interview last week.

Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer then took to the stage to discuss the road to creating this technology, highlighting algorithms that allow cameras to identify basic moving objects.

If imitation is the most honest form of flattery, Snapchat should be honored by the years Facebook has spent knocking off its features.

Facebook has launched a new platform for developers today which will enable them to build augmented reality experiences for its in-app cameras.

Apart from the violence on Facebook live, here are other ways Zuckerberg's world has changed in 12 short months.

He spoke about three key uses for AR: to display information such as arrows appearing on the streets to give directions; to add digital objects to the real world, in the way that Pokemon Go did, and to enhance existing objects such as your home or face. The new AR tools that Facebook is giving to developers will enable that.

That was in August: by March, when Snapchat went public, Facebook had added Stories features to WhatsApp, Messenger, and its main Facebook product. With Snapchat posing a competitive threat, Zuckerberg is expected to discuss his plans for boosting the advertising appeal of its rapidly growing Instagram photo-sharing app and outline new photo-sharing features to take on Snapchat.

Developers can't create their own lenses and filters on Snapchat.

Again, even Zuckerberg acknowledges that it's a long road ahead. "Your experience won't change dramatically overnight", he said during his keynote speech.

Facebook first opened up its social network to app developers during its first F8 conference in 2007.

He also laid out the future of Facebook, explaining that it is "an important time to work on building a community".

"If you have one takeaway today", he told the crowd Tuesday, "we're going to make the camera the first mainstream augmented reality platform".

Zuckerberg also admits that he was slow to catch onto the idea, and stopped just short of giving Snapchat credit for identifying the trend. He called for software programmers to help develop augmented reality-based apps to work with the technology, which Facebook called its "Camera Effects Platform".