Mark Zuckerberg cares about a few things: his family (including his dog Beast), live video and VR, and destroying Snapchat.
The 32-year-old billionaire CEO made that clear in his keynote during Facebook’s annual F8 developers conference. When most of the world was seeing flashing headlines on CNN about a man who leveraged Facebook to show off and confess to a murder, Zuckerberg talked about a future where augmented reality — a fake reality, you could say — is everything.
Splashed across a giant screen and repeated multiple times, the tagline of the morning rang: “We’re making the camera the first augmented reality platform.”
Snapchat, which calls themselves a camera company, has been making that same pitch for two years, even since they introduced Lenses (animated filters) to the platform and the public. They were planning toward a world with Pokemon Go before Niantic ever released it.
Most common words overheard at F8: “just like Snapchat”
— Tim Peterson (@petersontee) April 18, 2017
For Zuckerberg, the camera and augmented reality is something that Facebook will now own with the help of a few friends.
He has nearly 2 billion people on his platform and a room full of thousands of developers who are thirsty to build for a man with so much power and so much reach. Where Snapchat had been making their own in house (which had its own issues), Zuckerberg and company are inviting everyone to make their own. Facebook released a new system today: an open augmented reality platform.
So while Snapchat is pushing AR, as well, they are keeping themselves closed. Zuckerberg is, in a sense, calling out developers to help him.
There were too many burns to count regarding Snapchat from the mouth of Zuckerberg. Never was the name referenced, but the shade was a reality.
Repeatedly, he shaded Spectacles, Snapchat’s video-camera glasses:
Perhaps Snapchat had a heads up on Zuckerberg’s announcement. They updated their world lenses Tuesday, with an embargoed release scheduled to go live four hours before Zuckerberg took the stage. That release included nearly identical features to what Facebook ended up announcing. If anything, Facebook had been playing catchup to Snapchat on lenses. Tuesday looked like Facebook had taken the lead.
Nevertheless, the war between Facebook and Snapchat continues.
To be sure, Zuckerberg talked about things other than augmented reality. He also began his keynote — after a string of cringeworthy jokes about the other F8 (Fate of the Furious) — with a discussion on Community, referencing his 6,000-word manifesto on the subject published earlier this year.
Facebook is about Community, Zuckerberg said onstage. It’s about bringing people together. It’s no longer just for connecting friends and family, he said.
But, when it comes to business, it’s clear he wants no part in a friendly relationship with Snapchat. He does, however, require the love of developers.
Last year, Zuckerberg made headlines for criticizing then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“I hear fearful voices calling for building walls,” Zuckerberg said. “Instead of building walls, we can help people build bridges.”
But this year, there were no obvious digs at Trump or even the state of the politics. In case you missed it Zuckerberg, President Donald Trump is now on a warpath to destroy the H1B visa program, something that tech companies like your own rely on to hire workers.
I see a new wall.