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

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

It’s a become something of a broken record, but Facebook has been on a Snapchat copying rampage, adding a variety of camera effects with similar augmented reality filters. But at its F8 conference today, Facebook revealed a larger plan for these cameras: creating an open augmented reality platform.

Mark Zuckerberg implied it should be our biggest takeaway from the event; Facebook sees these cameras as not just fun filters, but as a future platform for communication. Zuckerberg demonstrated using filters that not only apply effects to your face, but also interact with your environment using 3D mapping and object recognition. Coincidentally (yeah right), Snapchat just announced a very similar feature this morning, although without the ambitious promises.

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While it’s easy to dismiss augmented reality so far as menial filters, Facebook has grander vision to enhance our interactions with the world around us. In one example, Facebook showed off using AR to provide information overlays within a restaurant.

That’s also why it’s opening up the Camera Effects platform to everyone, so they can create tools Facebook doesn’t have the manpower or imagination to create. A beta version of the Camera Effects Platform will be available later today. It’s a closed beta to start, and Zuckerberg warned it’s going to take a while for the product to come to public fruition.

“Some of these effects will be fun, and some of them will be useful,” said Zuckerberg. I enjoy the fun, but let’s hope for more of the latter.

Read next: Facebook launches Facebook Spaces, its first real VR app

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