Social media agency: What's all this about Facebook and Augmented Reality?


As Manchester’s most ingenious social media agency, nay, the UK’s most ingenious social media, marketing, PR and digital comms agency, it’s our job to keep abreast with the latest moves, shakes, forward and backward steps taken by the sectors we work in. Hence the following post.
Last week Mark Zuckerberg once again made headlines with the announcement that Facebook is set to make big waves in the world of Augmented Reality (AR). “[T]he first augmented reality platform that becomes mainstream isn’t going to be glasses, it’s going to be cameras,” said social media mogul is widely quoted as having said.
What this means is that most of us already have the first major tool for mainstream AR uptake in our pocket- with every smartphone equipped with a high end digital camera. This can now be used to look at the world in front of you, augmented with additional information that will appear on the screen either in real time, or as a still photo taken with the phone itself.
This follows several attempts to launch AR into the common conscious, which have either failed or proven to be prohibitively expensive. Google Glass, for example, had us all very excited not so long ago, but never really went anywhere due to practicality issues. Samsung Gear headsets, on the other hand, have been successful but only in niche areas due to costs, and would never be useful when you’re out and about because they restrict both line of sight and peripheral vision.
In comparison, we already look at our phones countless times each day, meaning there would be no significant requirement to change behaviour in order to use this type of AR kit.
Many people already use AR through their phones without even realising it. Snapchat, for example, allows us to amend and make additions to photos we have taken, in some cases annotating or including supplementary content, which is then presented as one whole picture. But the difference between what Facebook is proposing, and the likes of Snapchat, is that up until now the functionality and technology that makes this possible has been kept under tight wraps.
By establishing an open source Camera Effects platform, located in the Camera feature of the mobile app, Facebook is inviting developers to utilise and build on its own AR offering, meaning there is every chance this will take off quickly. When one company develops a great idea it’s usually noticeable and people buy into it, when thousands of individuals and specialist firms are coming up with ideas based on the same fundamental blueprint global trends begin to appear. Confused? No problem, here’s a video that should hopefully explain all this a little more effectively.

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