Everyone knows that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is betting the future of his company on augmented reality (AR). Right from the time when Facebook acquired Oculus Rift in 2014 to the time when Facebook integrated camera feature into Messenger, Zuckerberg’s plan of integrating the physical reality with the digital world has been evident. And the first day of the Facebook F8 2017 keynote conference just proves how invested he is in bringing about this shift.
Day one of F8 conference witnessed Facebook making several major announcements. From adding a bucket load of features on to the Messenger to introducing a whole new way of consuming AR, here are some key takeaways that you should know about:
If real world wasn’t enough for you to hang out with your friends and have fun then don’t worry as Facebook has another ‘digitally funky’ option for you. Facebook Spaces is a new virtual reality (VR) app that lets you interact with your friends in a virtual environment.
How it works
Well, you start off with creating an identity that represents you in the digital space. You can choose from an array of options for your VR appearance. You can even customise your eye colour, hairstyle, facial features and more till you meet your digital match. Once that is done, you can hang out with your friends, draw in the air with a virtual marker and even pay a short visit to space or any other place (digitally).
But that’s not it, as Spaces lets you do so much more. You can call a friend in the real world with Messenger video calling, invite more friends and even click selfie photos. So if you want to take a dip in VR, you can download the beta version of the app the Oculus Store.
Recent times have witnessed Facebook transforming Messenger from a simple chatting app to a fully-fledged platform of its own. And Day One of F8 just proved that the company has bigger plans in mind for the app. So, for example if you are talking to a friend on Messenger about catching up for a movie, Facebook wants that you should be able to book tickets and pick a nearby restaurant for food later without leaving the app.
To make this happen, Facebook has launched a number of tools. While the Discovery lets users find their recently used bots and popular experiences right from their Messenger home screens, Messenger Codes will give users new QR codes to know about the events near their location just by scanning a code in the Messenger Camera. Chat Extensions, on the other hand, will allow many people to chat with the same business at the same time and share their experience.
But that’s just the beginning of the new features that are coming to the Messenger. Messenger’s artificial intelligence (AI) assistant, M, now offers a unique tool that lets users order food online through delivery.com.The entire process, which includes ordering food and payment, can be done without leaving the platform.
Apart from this, Messenger is also getting a Smart Replies feature that will help pages to respond to the frequently asked questions like business hours, directions and contact details.
Last but not the least, Zuckerberg also introduced a brand new augmented reality platform– Camera Effects, that would give developers the power to build AR tools for the camera. “We’re all about extending the physical world online. When you become friends with someone or become part of a community on Facebook, your real relationships and physical communities become stronger. AR is going to help us mix the digital and the physical in new ways, and make our physical lives better,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
The Camera Effects Platform includes two apps: While the Frames Studio is an online creative editor that lets ‘users to design frames that can be used either as profile picture frames or in the new Facebook camera’; ‘AR Studio lets users create masks, scripted effects, animated frames that react to movement, the environment or interactions during Live videos’, Facebook wrote in a press release.
To put it simply, why do you need to get separate devices and access other apps when you can do all on Facebook?
Facebook’s mind-boggling releases on the first day of F8 shows the kind of meticulous planning that Zuckerberg and his team has done for the future. So, are you ready to step into the ‘digital reality’ with Facebook?