What do they mean for the developers
Facebook is having a rough year to say the least. The Cambridge Analytica scandal seems to have impacted it in a way that’s yet to unfold in it’s full form. Having the annual F8 conference during this tumultuous period can have different types of repercussions. More scrutiny of the announcements is among one of them.
Today we are going to ask some questions about the recent AR related announcements made in the Facebook F8 conference, how important they are to the user as well as the developers, and what do they really imply for facebook’s future development plans.
AR in Messenger
Facebook has introduced AR services to its messenger platform. This will enable the developers to build bots on the messenger platform and make it a much more interactive and informative platform that it currently is, potentially. As and when these features are implemented, the question on everyone’s mind is: will our data be safe?
Additionally, Facebook is also planning to implement payment gateways on their messenger platform. This opens up a new avenue for developers since now they can create third party bots for messenger. But can we really trust the security and privacy features keeping in mind that they will be majorly third party?
AR in Facebook lite
Facebook lite had arrived with the promise of a limited version of the social networking site for smaller and older android phones and also for the ones which have slow data connection. In the latest F8 conference, Facebook has promised to bring AR to its lite version. How does that impact the goal of the lite platform of being lightweight and being easy on system resources? Will the introduction of AR to Facebook lite make it bloated? Or it might just make it unfit for older phones since their processors and system configurations might not also support the AR features.
AR Camera effects in Instagram
Last year, Facebook had announced the AR camera platform, and this time around they plan to bring it to Instagram. Using an updated version of AR Studio, creators will be able to design unique, interactive camera experiences, including face filters and world effects, for their followers on Instagram. There have been these rumors that some of these features and filters have been heavily inspired by the Snapchat features which are hugely popular. The real question is whether Facebook and Instagram together can add something more to their AR camera features which would enable them to compete with Snapchat in this particular category.
Update to AR Studio
Facebook has updated their inhouse AR development platform, AR Studio and the new features are the following:
- Filtering of image textures can now be set to none or bilinear (default: bilinear).
- Wrapping modes of image textures can now be set to repeat, clamp or mirror (default: clamp).
- Tiling scale and offset for material textures can now be specified.
- When using the plane tracker, you can choose to target specific textures in the world from the Inspector panel.
- Adds some more tooltips to the texture inspector.
Facebook has also signalled at the upgrading of their underlying AR technology. For instance adding advanced target tracking, which includes hand tracking as well as high-fidelity body tracking. This should make for a lot more precise filters, improving their real time object and face detection capabilities etc. But since AR Studio was introduced in last year’s F8 conference, are these changes really breaking ones or are they just a means to stay alive in the competitive AR development market? With the renewed presence of Google with its recently updated AR core and Apple’s AR Kit, how much share can AR Studio maintain is a question that can only be answered in time.
AR and its implications in real life can be very interesting but AR on mobile seems to have been suffering for some time due to the lack of system resources, the non-uniformity of the mobile platforms and location based data connection related issues. How these new announcements are going to change the current mobile AR landscape is something that we will have to wait and watch.