Google adding new AR effects to YouTube Stories

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Everyone is riding the social stories bandwagon. So how can companies make their Stories more interesting and boost usage?

Facebook seems focused on finding an x-factor with different tools. It offers several music options to capitalize its music licensing deals.

Google has found another way. It is taking its augmented reality (AR) effects tools to the next level, starting with YouTube Stories.

The Google Research team blogs about the new AR effects and how it will use advanced “anchoring” processes for more realistic results. They tout a more responsive, real-world cue and movement.

The improved AR system is independent from additional depth input. It can help with pre-recorded videos.

Google has improved the speed and response time of its AR tools using TensorFlow Lite. It reduces computational effort significantly.

Google’s effects will react faster and be more accurate, leaving it less vulnerable to camera flaws and extreme brightness.

The results empower users with convincing selfies with AR effects in YouTube, ARCore, and other clients by:

  • Simulating light reflections via environmental mapping for realistic rendering of glasses
  • Natural lighting by casting virtual object shadows onto the face mesh
  • Modelling face occlusions to hide virtual object parts behind a face, e.g. virtual glasses.

augmented reality AR effects virtual glasses


So how will Google use its newfound AR effects in YouTube Stories?

Vague, for now.

YouTube Stories is only available to creators who have more than 10,000 subscribers. Very limited indeed.

Google notes that the new YouTube Stories creator effects will roll out soon.

The AR Effects of Different Platforms

YouTube said that users would only see Stories from creators they follow in the app. But the Stories bar is showing Stories from all profiles.

Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have the number of users to beat smaller competitors, such as Snapchat, using advanced machine learning effects and models.

Snapchat knows. The firm has taken a different approach to its AR effects. It is rolling out new, immersive experiences, such as the Black History Month virtual art gallery. Its latest responds to visual cues based on Game of Thrones images at SXSW.

Snapchat has outclassed larger rivals in AR innovation so far. Its new initiative may be the way forward to build more expansive AR worlds, versus modest masks.

Google may already have missed the boat. Despite advanced AR capacity, its users may not be as excited and want the next big thing.

We can’t help but wonder if YouTube Stories is too late to become a major competitor, even with the improved AR effects.

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Author: Francis Rey

Francis is a voracious reader and prolific writer. He has been writing about social media and technology for more than 10 years. During off hours, he relishes moments with his wife and daughter.

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