So at last year’s F8, we talked about our 10-year roadmap to give everyone in the world the power to share anything they want with anyone. And one of the key long term technologies that we talked about is augmented reality. Now we all know where we want this to get eventually, right? We want glasses or eventually contact lenses that look and feel normal but that let us overlay all kinds of information and digital objects on top of the real world. So we can just be sitting here and we want to play chess — Snap! Here’s a chessboard and we can play together. Or you want to watch TV, we can put a digital TV on that wall and instead of being a piece of hardware, it’s a one dollar app instead of a $500 piece of equipment.
So think about how many of the things that we have in our lives actually don’t need to be physical, they can be digital, and think about how much better and more affordable and accessible they are going to be when they are. So think about going to Rome on vacation and having information about the Colosseum overlaid on the actual building or directions overlaid on the actual street. And think about if your daughter is a big Harry Potter fan, for her birthday, you can change your home into Hogwarts, although I bet some of you were hoping I had the toilet paper [money].
Now we’re all about extending the physical world online. When you become friends with someone on Facebook, your relationship gets stronger. When you join a community online, that physical community gets stronger. So 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. So that’s why this is such an important trend.
Now when we talk about augmented reality, there are three important use cases that we think about: the ability to display information, like directions, or messages and notifications; the ability to add digital objects, like the chessboard or the TV screen I was talking about; and the ability to enhance existing objects, like your home or your face.
Now I used to think that glasses were going to be the first mainstream augmented reality platform, and that we get them, you know, maybe five or ten years from now, we get the form factor that we all want. But over the last couple of years, we started to see primitive versions of each of these use cases on our phones and cameras. So for displaying information we’ve all seen people take photos or write text on them or circle things or draw arrows to highlight information. For digital objects, we have games like Pokémon where you can overlay a digital Pokémon on top of the real world in front of you. And for enhancements, we have things like face filters and style transfers to make our images and videos more fun.
Now a lot of people look at the stuff and it seems so basic, right? And you ask, you know, maybe this is just what kids are into doing these things. But we look at this and we see something different: we see the beginning of a new platform. We’re not using primitive tools today, because we prefer primitive tools. We’re using primitive tools because we’re still early in the journey to create better of these. And in order to create better tools, first we need an open platform where any developer in the world can build for augmented reality without having to first build their own camera and get a lot of people to use it. But when you look around at all the different cameras that are out there today, no one has built a platform yet.
So today we’re going to start building this platform together, and we’re going to make the camera the first mainstream augmented reality platform. So if you take one thing away from today, this is it — right here: We’re making the camera the first augmented reality platform. So for those of you want to just roll out cameras across all our apps and you wonder what we might have been doing, that was Act 1. This is Act 2: giving developers the power to build for augmented reality in the first augmented reality platform: the camera.
All right. Let’s take a look at what this is going to look like. All right. So you’re going to be able to swipe to the camera and you’re going to start discovering effects that your friends are using and that are relevant to the place you’re at nearby. And you’re going to be able to scroll through all the effects and we have a lot of them.
Now we’re going to start today with all the basic effects that you’re used to: face masks, art frame, style transfers. Now since this is an open platform, you’re going to build to create your own and instead of having maybe ten or twenty options to choose from, you’re going to have thousands of options from creators all over the world from all different kinds of cultures and backgrounds and styles. And this is launching in Beta today. Now this is the first step, though. So we have a lot crazier stuff that I want to show you that’s going to be coming soon.
So now for real augmented reality, you don’t just want the ability to do those tools. You also want the ability to have realistic 3D objects and in order to do that, you need to have a platform that has — that gives them precise location, a realistic relationship with objects around them in their environment. So there’s an AI technique for doing this, called simultaneous localization and mapping, or SLAM, for those of you in the AI community.