CALIFORNIA: Facebook opened its Spark AR platform to the public on Instagram, enabling users to create and publish custom AR special effects, and reportedly pitching the company head-to-head against Snapchat’s Lenses feature.
Instagram first rolled out AR effects in May 2018, and Facebook said more than 1 billion people have used Spark AR-powered filters across its range of services. The AR platform had been available in a closed beta on Instagram, but will now be opened more widely as part of a public beta trial.
Facebook said the move will “enable more vibrant forms of digital expression”. It also introduced an Effects Gallery tab, allowing users to browse filters from other creators.
Mashable noted the move pitches Facebook against Snapchat’s Lenses feature, which enables users to build their own AR filters through the Lens Studio.
Snap executives recently highlighted AR’s starring role in the company’s growth strategy, noting the release of new Lenses helped draw in millions of new and lapsed users in Q2.