In addition to the New York Times, Facebook is partnering with the Smithsonian as well to add AR experiences to its collections and artifacts.
AR is fast becoming one of the main ways users interact with Facebook apps. According to the company, more than 600 million people use AR across Facebook apps and devices each month, and there are now over 400,000 creators from 190 countries publishing over 1.2 million AR effects on Facebook and Instagram. The company said that over half of these creators (55 percent) are women as well.
AR on Facebook isn’t just constrained to funny face filters and quizzes either. The company is also experimenting with using them for commerce, like with AR Try On in Instagram Ads or Facebook Shop, where users can virtually “try on” a makeup sample or an item of clothing without having to go to the store (certainly a welcome move during COVID times). Other examples of AR Try On include placing a virtual piece of furniture in your home to see if it fits, which is similar to what WayFair and IKEA have done with their own apps.
Another important aspect of AR at Facebook is that it helps provide research and insight into the development of its AR glasses. “AR is becoming kind of central to the way that people are connecting across all of our apps, and we think that’s also a pretty interesting indicator of where we’re going,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “We said we’re going to build AR glasses and we’re really passionate about building that habituation and skill set today with people.”