Some of the world’s largest technology companies are creating products and services in the area of augmented reality. Why is AR so important? And what are these companies up to, anyway?
- Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive officer, is betting big on augmented reality products and services. Facebook, in order to place more advertising in front of its users, is creating a platform for developers to create apps. These developers could sell or offer apps for free that would allow a person to point their cellphone at a product and see more information about that product (and, by the way, view the advertising for that or other products.)
Facebook doesn’t want to create all of the different applications that will be offered. What Facebook wants is to build a platform for other developers. This way, the social media giant keeps its users and draws new users to continue to use Facebook services longer throughout the day. The more someone is using an application found on Facebook’s platform, the more advertising Facebook can place into the user’s feed.
- Snap: Snap recently announced its popular Snapchat Lenses feature, which overlays digital effects over real photos, can now be used with the rear-facing camera on your phone. Snap’s current application was for the front-facing camera, meaning you could only take pictures of yourself and then add a digital effect to that picture. Now, with Snapchat Lenses, one can take a picture with the rear-facing camera and add the computer effect to that photo. Snap is feeling pressure from Instagram, owned by Facebook, to innovate its features.
- Apple: The notoriously secretive company doesn’t openly talk about its augmented reality plans. So let’s examine the rumors for now. According to a report at Bloomberg.com, Apple has hired a team with hardware and software experience. These people have worked on headsets at Facebook with Oculus and at Microsoft with HoloLens. Apple has also acquired a few small companies with augmented reality portfolios and is rumored to be working on digital glasses that could wirelessly connect to the iPhone and possibly other wearables.
- Google: The company that brought the world Google Glass has invested in a company called Magic Leap. The founder, Rony Abovitz, has told Techcrunch.com that Magic Leap could turn the world around you into “your new desktop” or “your new silver screen.” The company’s product is still a secret, but is rumored to be a lightweight wearable that won’t involve looking at a screen.