Augmented reality superimposes images on the real world, while virtual reality immerses people in a computer-generated world.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared that vision for the company Tuesday during its annual developers conference, known as F8. There may be a Google Earth canvassing reality, but Facebook Stories might be right behind, invisibly mapping it with augmented reality just the same.
Augmented reality has been in the air for some time and got its first big hit previous year with Pokémon Go, a game in which users use their smartphones to chase digital creatures through the real world.
Pokemon Go, developed by Nintendo Co and Niantic Inc, generated millions of followers worldwide, with players using their phones to capture animated creatures that appear in real locations. Act two, he said, is "giving developers the power to build for augmented reality in the first augmented reality platform: the camera". What that means for the rest of us non-developers in the world is that Facebook will allow people outside of the company to design masks for the site, making the effects more customizable and unique than any other social media platform offering a similar effect. The new AR Studio is bound to bring forth some exciting new applications and it will be very interesting to see what creative devs can come up with.More news: Bieber's 'Despacito' breaks largest music video premiere record on YouTube
Why it matters: This year's sessions feature a wide range of topics across the Facebook family of apps and services - with relevance to developers and businesses.
By "camera", Zuckerberg really means the camera button (which allows users to directly access a mobile device's actual camera) and related photo processing tools in Facebook and related apps. Mark Zuckerberg kicked proceedings off by unveiling the company's ambitious plans for augmented reality.
Previously, Facebook had been focused strongly on virtual reality as the next big computing platform, particularly using Rift headgear made by its Oculus unit.
"Augmented reality will help us mix the digital and the physical in new ways", Zuckerberg said during a keynote presentation. Within this 3D virtual room, which can be customized or created using a 360-degree video, users can chat, play games, share photos, video call and generally have lots of fun with people all over the world.