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Yes, Facebook really is working on AR glasses

YOU CAN’T FAULT Facebook’s enthusiasm. It really wants to enter the hardware game, and it’s not going to let a little thing like public apathy get in the way. Hot on the heels of the smart speaker that nobody asked for and seven years after the HTC ChaCha failed to impress anyone, Facebook has revealed that it’s working on augmented-reality glasses.

Because, of course, if you can’t make it in a market that’s actively growing, then why not try it in one that’s already failed once? Still, when you have the kind of money that Mark Zuckerberg has, there’s not really much harm in trying. It’s the equivalent of us throwing away 20p on an arcade coin-pushing machine in the hopes of winning a slightly more valuable keyring.

“Well of course we’re working on it,” said Facebook’s Ficus Kirkpatrick in an interview with TechCrunch when asked about building AR products. “We are building hardware products. We’re going forward on this … We want to see those glasses come into reality, and I think we want to play our part in helping to bring them there.”

For Facebook, that part could well be making Apple’s rumoured product look considerably more attractive. Not only does Facebook have a weak record with consumer hardware, it also has a reputation for being terrible for user privacy. Somehow a device that can see everything do feels like it would do little to alleviate people’s fears that the company has a creepy interest in your habits.

To be entirely fair to Facebook, it’s hardly been secretive about its interest in augmented reality. Back in 2016, founder Mark Zuckerberg talked extensively about AR as a likely end point of its Oculus division. “In the future, you’ll be able to snap your fingers and pull out a photo and make it as big as you want, and with your AR glasses you’ll be able to show it to people and they’ll be able to see it,” he told an audience at the annual F8 conference.

“As a matter of act, when we get to this world, a lot of things that we think about as physical objects today, like a TV for displaying an image, will actually just be $1 apps in an AR app store,” he added, already putting a price on an imaginary product like the dyed-in-the-wool capitalist he is.

“So it’s going to take a long time to make this work. But this is the vision, and this is what we’re trying to get to over the next ten years,” he finished. 2026 just can’t come soon enough, can it? µ

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Source : Inquirer

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