Facebook is turning its camera effects into an open augmented reality platform

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"We will show what the future holds for developers and businesses alike as we explore new tools, features, and possibilities", said Emeka Afigbo, Facebook's Head of Platform Partnerships for the Middle East and Africa. Another example showed off an augmented reality piece of art at Facebook's headquarters.

Augmented reality is a type of technology in which digital graphics are overlaid onto the physical world, as exemplified in the hit mobile game Pokémon Go. Zuckerberg acknowledged that the company was late adding the camera effects to its apps, but said, "I'm confident that now we're going to push this augment reality platform forward". While it's a blank wall in reality, an animated piece appears when viewed through the Facebook Camera on a smartphone. "Augmented reality is going to help us mix the digital and the physical in all new ways, and that's going to make our physical reality better".

Addressing an audience of company's core innovators, Zuckerberg also said based on the camera, he envisions a new platform that will replace today's primitive tools. Later today the first effects will become availabe inside Facebook's Camera feature on smartphones, but the Camera Effects platform is created to eventually be compatible with future augmented reality hardware such as eyeglasses.

That's especially true for the Spaces app, since relatively few of Facebook's 1.9 billion members are using Oculus's VR headset, which sells for about $500 and requires an expensive computer to make it work.

Facebook's new tool Precise Location tool is almost the same as Snap's new feature, also announced on Tuesday, World Lenses.

Above: Facebook's demo of a family playing an AR game.

"Some of these effects will be fun, and some of them will be useful", said Zuckerberg.

He quickly pivoted to the main thrust of his keynote: augmented reality, but without the dorky glasses. While the separation of Facebook and Messenger apps were a little concerning at first, it's clear that the company has big plans for both. He reinforced Facebook's commitment to building community, before speaking briefly about the Cleveland murder video that was uploaded to Facebook. That raised questions about Facebook's ability to monitor gruesome material on its site.

Ortutay reported from NY.

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