NEWS

Facebook Turns to Augmented Realty to Transform Social Networking

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently at Facebook’s F8 developer conference gave his support to the new technology trend that aims to make Smartphone cameras the first augmented realty platform. Zuckerberg talked about how the future of communication will be more visual, with cameras as the key interface between the real and virtual world.

With the growing popularity of Snapchat among young users, Facebook had to initiate some kind of strategy to maintain its hold over the social networking world. The ‘Camera Company’ as Snapchat likes to call itself has intensified its battle with Facebook by adding new updates to its augmented realty lenses that allow users to transform their surroundings into three-dimensional augmented reality objects such as rainbows, flowers, clouds etc.

Current uses of photo enhancements on Snapchat and Instagram or games such as Pokémon Go represent "the beginning of a new platform" in AR, Zuckerberg said. Industry experts have questioned why Facebook had to look up to snapchat for inspiration before entering the augmented realty world. The social networking giant has nearly copied every one of Snap's significant features like the stories function and the filters and lenses that add animated effects.

The five year old startup that builds its own augmented-reality apps has continued its rapid rise as an image messaging and multimedia mobile company. But, Facebook’s idea of hiring outside developers to build augmented-reality applications can prove problematic for Snapchat. "Even if we were a little slow to add cameras to all our apps, I'm confident

we'll push this forward," Zuckerberg said, making Facebook’s new stand on AR plarforms clear.

It will be interesting to see what new AR applications Facebook and Snapchat plan come up with to remain relevant in the social media market. Both companies may have been pitted against each other, but aren’t they fundamentally different. Facebook lets users publicly share images and content while Snapchat is more of a private messaging platform.

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Can Uber Risk Losing Top Leaders, When Its Revenues are Dipping?

Uber had decided to part ways with Sherif Marakby, a senior executive who played a key role in the company’s self-driving program. A former vice president of global vehicle programs at Uber, Marakby helped the tech company in the adoption of self-driving cars. Marakby joined Uber after a 25 year stint at Ford Motor Co., where he served as Ford’s director of global electronics and engineering. Marakby move to Uber also initiated the coming together of Silicon Valley upstart Uber and Motor giant Ford.

“Self-driving is one of the most interesting challenges I’ve worked on in my career, and I’m grateful to have contributed to what will soon be a safer future for everyone," Marakby said in a statement. The company is tight lipped about the reasons that led to his departure, but has confirmed that Marakby is not leaving because of the company policies. Uber is going to miss Marakby’s deep experience and knowledge of the automotive industry, an Uber spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch.

The departure is the latest of several high-profile exits from the company. The company also lost 20 of its top engineers last November. Uber has seen some of its biggest names quit the company in a span of months. Leaders like former president Jeff Jones to former head of communications Rachel Whetstone, to Gary Marcus, head of Uber’s AI Lab have all left the company.

Uber was recently sued by Google’s Waymo for stealing some of its self-driving technology. The battle between Uber and Google has not any given indication to slow down. Not long ago, the companies were working together on key projects. Adding to the crisis is serious accusations of sexual harassment from a former female employee and a video showing Chief Executive Travis Kalanick misbehaving with an Uber driver.

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