Market Reality: Olympics AR Content on Instagram & Google, Facebook's Metaverse, & Snapchat's Magic Karaoke

Olympics AR Content on Instagram & Google, Facebook's Metaverse, & Snapchat's Magic Karaoke

Over the past week, practically every major tech company working on augmented reality has held their quarterly earnings calls with investors, and each addressed or at least mentioned the role of AR during their prepared remarks. However, Facebook's earnings call had some of the spicier commentary on the technology.

Speaking of Facebook, the company's Spark AR platform assisted The New York Times in delivering AR content on the ongoing Olympic Games. Google also delivered its own Olympic AR experiences through its own AR platform.

Finally, Snapchat continues to lean on AR as its growth driver, and its latest Lens is literally a jaw-dropper.

Facebook Shines Spotlight on Smartglasses & the Metaverse

Facebook's earnings calls are generally focused on numbers—revenue and user growth.

But this week the company's founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, carved out a significant portion of the call to elaborate on Facebook's plans for immersive computing.

Read further to see what Zuck had to say about Facebook's forthcoming foray into smartglasses and the company's forward focus on the Metaverse...

Image by Oculus/YouTube

REALITY BITES: 3D scanning company Matterport went public last week, commemorating the occasion by ringing the closing bell for Nasdaq and sharing a 3D model of the Nasdaq Marketsite. The closing of a $640 million merger with Gores Holdings VI served as the catalyst for the milestone, with the new combined company trading under the ticker symbol MTTR.

New York Times Publishes Olympic AR Content via Instagram

Old school media stalwart The New York Times launched its augmented reality news content in 2018 with a feature on the athletes of the Winter Olympics.

However, after a solid year of AR reporting, the Times all but abandoned its AR news coverage via its mobile app, instead opting to publish AR content via the Spark AR platform from Facebook.

Now, the publication's AR journey has come full-circle with a pair of AR camera effects visualizing the physics behind two of the sports of the Summer Games. Continue reading to view their Olympics AR content...

REALITY BITES: UK-based AR company PhotonLens and Shadow Creator have agreed to merge. The co-founders of PhotonLens, Patrick Liu and Lisa Pan, were early-stage angel investors in China's Shadow Creator and are preparing for an initial public offering of the newly combined company, proceeding under the banner PhotonLens UK, in the "near future." According to a company spokesperson, the companies are co-designing product and solutions, with more of a concentration on AR apps currently.

Google Expands AR Search Content with Olympic Athletes

After facing delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Olympic Games are underway in Tokyo, but a surge in cases worldwide has taken the spectator out of these spectator sports.

However, thanks to AR content in Google Search, fans can get closer to select athletes than they would have if they had a ticket to the events.

Keep reading to see the AR content Google served up for the Olympics and how AR continues to show its value as the COVID-19 pandemic persists...

More virtual Olympic athletes have joined US gymnast Simone Biles in augmented reality. Images by Google/YouTube

REALITY BITES: During Google parent company Alphabet's second-quarter 2021 earnings webcast, Philipp Schindler, SVP & Chief Business Officer at Google, cited augmented reality as a key area of focus in its omnichannel marketing services for retailers. While Schindler mentioned shopping features in Google Lens specifically, he also alluded to the availability of virtual auto models in Google Search as well as virtual cosmetics try-on experiences, which are available through Google Lens as well as Google Search and YouTube.

Snapchat Turns Faces into Lip-Syncing Puppets with Magic Karaoke Lens

The Lens Studio community, now made up of more than 200,000 creators, has generated some impressive augmented reality effects in the last few years. Amazingly, the groundbreaking Lenses for Snapchat continue to come, often from the internal AR team at Snap.

The latest AR magic trick to arrive on Snapchat from Snap's AR team is the appropriately-named Magic Karaoke. Or maybe you've seen it referred to as the "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" filter.

Read further to see how to transform the people in your camera view and your photo roll into singing divas with Magic Karaoke...

Image by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

REALITY BITES: T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom's tech incubator, hubraum, has launched an augmented reality innovation program for iOS developers. The program is seeking submissions for AR apps in the areas of communication, entertainment (gaming, sports, and music), retail, education and sustainability, AR and machine learning technology, and privacy and contextual. Deadline for applications to the program is Aug. 4.

Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines from the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This weekly Market Reality column covers funding announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis, and the like. Check out previous editions of Market Reality for more news you may have missed.

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

Cover image via Shinnosuke Ando/Unsplash

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