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Facebook F8, day 1: Facebook goes all in on AR and VR – CNET

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Facebook rolls out augmented-reality camera platform

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg touts new augmented-reality technologies that put the camera at the center of Facebook’s platform.

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The first day of Facebook’s F8 developer conference was all about the social giant’s augmented reality and virtual reality future.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg started off by addressing the recent murder of Robert Godwin Sr. His alleged assailant, Steve Stephens, posted videos to Facebook of his intent to murder someone and the act itself. Pennsylvania State Police said Tuesday morning that Stephens fatally shot himself following a nationwide manhunt.

After that weighty statement (awkwardly placed after a jokey “Fast and Furious”-themed opening), it was straight into AR and VR.

Read: Facebook’s Zuck: ‘We have work to do to prevent tragedies’

An updated version of Facebook Camera is launching in beta with major new AR features added: The new app adds 3D effects, object recognition and “precise location,” so it can (for instance) add virtual objects to real-world scenes and have them reposition themselves as the camera’s point of view changes. If you think that sounds a lot like the face filters popularized by archrival Snapchat, you’re not alone: that company launched its own “World Lenses” upgrade just hours earlier.

Read: Facebook brings augmented reality to your phone

Facebook Spaces, a new VR platform, is launching today on Oculus Rift: Previewed last year at Oculus Connect, Facebook’s virtual reality social app can now be downloaded by Oculus Rift owners. The app lets up to four people meet in a 3D virtual space — complete with a 360-degree video as a backdrop — with customized avatars and 3D objects you can manipulate with the Oculus Touch controllers. And for all your friends who aren’t Oculus-enabled, you can have them join the fun from the “real world” via Facebook Messenger.

Read: Facebook Spaces make virtual reality a social experience

Additional news from day 1 of the F8 conference:

You can rewatch the entire event below.

The second day’s presentation will start at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 19.

Tech Enabled: CNET chronicles tech’s role in providing new kinds of accessibility.

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