It’s not just Instagram that’s competing against Snapchat — now parent company Facebook is getting into the action as well. As originally reported by TechCrunch, you’ll soon be able to take a photo of your surroundings, annotate them using AR technology, and turn them into Instagram Boomerang GIFs, all using your Facebook Camera. Because if Facebook has learned anything from photo-sharing apps, it’s that folks love to create and share their own content.
“We wanted to give people an easy way to create with augmented reality and draw in the world around them” John Barnett, a Facebook Camera Product Manager, said. The company is calling the new feature “3D drawing.” If you haven’t received the feature yet, you should find it in your Facebook Camera capabilities within the next few weeks.
Much like other augmented drawing features, you’ll be able to hold up your phone and effectively draw on the outside world, even when you move your camera, your scribbles will stay in place. Think of it as ephemeral graffiti that is visible to you and you alone. You can even add your annotations before you start recording a video, so that you can create a big reveal moment as you move your camera from your boring old window to the AR doodles on your wall. And moving forward, Facebook is looking to add additional brushes — as it stands, you only have a few pastel colors to choose from.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook’s technology must “understand the corners and objects in the room to create a 3D spec.” Only then will it be able to accurately superimpose your drawings onto various surfaces in a realistic way. And since you can turn these drawings into GIFs, Facebook is obviously hoping that its users will begin making viral content to send back and forth.
The social media giant has been experimenting with augmented reality technology for quite some time now — AR effects were first launched at last year’s F8 in April, and more recently, the company has introduced AR effects that are tied to real posters or QR codes. Of course, Snapchat has been playing in the AR world for quite some time, and as Facebook continues to battle a growing number of social media companies for dominance, it’s looking for new ways to engage its users.