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September 22 2017, 01:16 | Alexander Lowe
Until the past year or so, it seemed like it would be at least another decade before augmented reality would have a chance to become a widely used technology, said Ficus Kirkpatrick, Facebook's director of engineering.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at his company's annual F8 developer conference, Tuesday, April 18, 2017, in San Jose, Calif.
"This year's keynote shows Facebook is serious about catching up in this area and competing with Snapchat and others". For example, you could soon be able to film your dog playing fetch and add an animated dog that follows him around in the video. The launch of these new augmented reality capabilities could encourage more people to share at a time when people are starting to share less on Facebook.
A few developers have had early access to Camera Effects, including Giphy, which designed a thought bubble that can hover above your head while you're filming yourself to let your friends know what you're thinking.
"In the future, technology is going to keep making us more productive and that's going to change how we all work", Zuckerberg said Tuesday in a speech that he might as well have plagiarized from Evan Spiegel, if Spiegel cared about productivity instead of cameras.
According to the F8 website, "This year's sessions feature a wide range of topics across the Facebook family of apps and services - with relevance to developers and businesses".
Over the next two months, San Jose will be hopping with coders, developers and tech visionaries as three separate conference will draw more than 10,000 people to the McEnery San Jose Convention Center. Facebook's Oculus team is using a technique known as simultaneous location and mapping to help with motion tracking for a prototype untethered VR headset. The immediate focus appears on Instagram that is likely to get additional features like Camera Effects Platform enabling users to add video overlays and photo.
Zuckerberg also admits that he was slow to catch onto the idea, and stopped just short of giving Snapchat credit for identifying the trend.
The company also announced updates to Facebook Analytics, the Developer Circles pilot platform and updates to its increasingly powerful computer vision research.
"We're going to make the camera the first mainstream augmented reality platform", Zuckerberg said. Zuckerberg did not make this clear but hinted that augmented reality encourages people to look up from their screens and interact with others and find common ground - although for now that experience is still mediated by the smartphone screen. "We're all about extending the physical world online".