Most people might not think of social media giant Facebook right off the bat when they think “AR experience.” However, more people should. The company, which also owns Instagram, is actually an AR powerhouse.
Social AR – or, AR experiences on mobile-based social media platforms – is how many people experience AR for the first time. It’s also how most people log most of their AR interaction. As a result, we at ARPost watch Facebook pretty closely. Of course, they also own Oculus, and filed for an AR glasses patent almost three years ago and a new one last year.
Anyway, we usually watch Facebook’s annual Developers Conference pretty closely. This year, the event was canceled, due to coronavirus, to be replaced with a series of live stream videos. The first of which dropped Friday and which you can watch below.
“We’re All Trying New Ways of Doing Things.”
“This is a new format for us, obviously, doing this over live, discussing products over live. I guess we’re in a period now where we’re all trying new ways of doing things.” said founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The 40-minute rambling video included definitions of terms that anyone who could find the video already understood. (We know what “video calls” are.) It also included a lot of updates to Facebook features that we don’t really care that much about.
However, it did include some hints to upcoming AR experiences – even if we don’t have release dates. He also talked briefly about VR as “social infrastructure,” suggesting that we might see new content for Oculus sometimes soon.
Speculation aside, what did Zuck promise today?
360 Video Backgrounds
Among announcements like increased numbers of people on video calls and new ways of setting up rooms, Zuckerberg announced “360-degree immersive virtual backgrounds.”
Virtual conferencing platform Zoom popularized personalized backgrounds. However, they’re static, like standing in front of a backdrop, or videos so that you can play weatherman. Zuckerberg described a virtual environment that the user appears in that moves when they move or move their camera.
“As you move around if you hold your phone the background will move and maintain perspective so it’ll really feel like you’re in a house, or a jungle, or whatever place the immersive virtual background is,” said Zuckerberg.
We’ve already discussed how Facebook and Instagram AR experiences are more important than they sound. And, they’re interesting features in themselves.
The live stream announced new AR experiences that involve image filters for specific events like birthdays and camping.
Those were the two specifically mentioned by Zuckerberg, but depending on how long the shelter-in-place lasts, we may see the technology commemorating holidays.
What’s to Come
We don’t have a set schedule of future videos and topics. However, we are expecting more videos to drop in the next few weeks.