The biggest social media giant in the world is making some major changes to its in-app camera, infusing it with augmented reality driven features made popular by Snapchat. The new features included animated face masks, superimposed graphic elements, and geofilters, plus filters that incorporate artistic themes inspired by Van Gogh (among many others) as well as a number of new reactive filters that react depending on how the user moves his body.
The overhauled in-app camera will be made easily available from the News Feed by making a quick swipe to the right. Once the user gains access to the camera, he can swipe down to view the various filters being offered, or tap the creative tools buttons in order to take full advantage of additional effects, which include extra clothing that can be added, geofilters that provide cool graphic elements, or Van Gogh style hues that can be incorporated on the video’s background.
As for the new reactive filters, they are quite capable of clever and cute things -- e.g. covering the screen with leaves that respond to the user’s hand movements, or beautiful patterns that weave and sway according to how the user moves.
Apart from letting users broadcast photos and videos via the News Feed, people will also be allowed to share pictures and footage in one on one convos by way of the new transitory Facebook Direct mailbox. When users send an image or video via Direct, the recipient will receive a notification and also view an alert jewel superimposed on the new Direct inbox located in the top right section of the News Feed (akin to the Direct messaging feature on Instagram).
Facebook started testing the new features for users based in Ireland, but as soon as the company finishes ironing out the wrinkles, it should be able to begin deploying the features to all users around the world. Sure, Snapchat has had a head start with regards to embracing the wonders of augmented reality, and it may very well go down in history as the pioneer in that area. But as the most widely used social media platform in the planet, Facebook may be considered the more instrumental in popularizing the use of augmented reality, especially in visual oriented communications.
Moreover, the new features on Facebook’s in-app camera could reinvigorate original sharing on the main app. According to data compiled by The Information, original sharing on Facebook dropped 21 percent between mid-2014 and mid-2015, and as of April earlier this year, it decreased 15 percent year over year.
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