Mark Zuckerberg Lays Out Facebook’s ‘Act 2,’ Focuses On Augmented Reality
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at his company's annual F8 developer conference.

Mark Zuckerberg Lays Out Facebook’s ‘Act 2,’ Focuses On Augmented Reality

Today is the first day of the Facebook Developer Conference, F8. It takes place over two days, and today Mark Zuckerberg announced a focus on augmented reality. It would be a platform out of the camera, and you wouldn’t need to wear goggles or anything similar to what we’ve already seen with augmented reality.

So how will it work?

The augmented reality will work right on your phone. You’ll be able to hold it up and see the graphics overlay right in front of you. The new camera update already implements some of these features with the ability to add animations. As of today, it is available as a closed beta. While the public can’t test it, Facebook is giving some small updates here and there to get more users to try out the new features and slowly get them used to the idea of augmented reality.

Mark Zuckerberg at F8 2017
[Image by Noah Berger/AP Images]

Facebook Spaces

Mark Zuckerberg also announced something new for the Oculus Rift. Facebook Spaces is a new app for their VR goggles. Heather Kelly and Selena Lawson did a great job at describing the app for CNN Tech.

“When you can’t just chill on the couch with your bestie IRL, you can put on some goggles and do it as animated people in a virtual version of your living room. Or in a virtual park, Paris, maybe even outer space if you’re into that.

“Rachel Rubin Franklin, the former head of the Sims video game franchise, said it lets you spend time with people and gives ‘the essence that you’re really there together.’

“The app ports in your Facebook profile, so it already knows who your friends are. If you don’t have Oculus (most people don’t), you can see a VR version of yourself talking to your friends’ VR versions. You can build a custom avatar based on your Facebook profile shot, like a 3D bitmoji. This is the future, folks.”

Mark Zuckerberg is emphasizing a focus on improving relationships. He believes that improving them through augmented reality will help improve them in real life, too. Augmented reality helps to make online relationships feel more real. Facebook won’t know how successful they’ll be with this idea until it’s rolled out to the public. That said, they have made advancements in the video areas of both Facebook and Instagram.

It’s clear that Mark Zuckerberg is excited about these next steps for Facebook. Leading up to the event, he was using a bunch of the features himself. He even drew some ears, a little pink nose, and whiskers on himself to wish everyone a Happy Easter.

Today’s sessions after the keynote focused a good amount on video, VR, and games. Tomorrow’s sessions will include things like bots, 3D-360 cameras, and more on VR. It’s clear that Facebook is going all in on video; the recent addition of the Instagram-like stories shows that. However, in addition to Spaces and the focus on augmented reality, Facebook showed some love to the developers. They’ll be launching Developer Circles, which is similar to being in a Facebook Group. They’ll have some new tools to work with and will be able to create more apps.

F8 is showing no sign of slowing down. Mark Zuckerberg and the team at Facebook continue to make some big announcements that are forward-thinking. The future of VR and augmented reality are talked about a lot, and they’re taking some big steps with these ideas.

You can watch the F8 sessions on demand. With it only being day one of the conference, there’s surely more information to come tomorrow. The video for today runs about an hour and a half, but if you’re interested in knowing more about Facebook’s “Act 2,” give it a watch. Tomorrow’s keynote will be live at 10 a.m. PST.

[Featured Image by Noah Berger/AP Images]

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