Tag: artificial reality

How Google is Preparing for Fully Immersive AR Environments

Since its inception, one of the biggest use cases of AR on mobile remains the ability to play with your appearance whether through clothes, accessories, or makeup. Snapchat and Instagram are no stranger to this trend, and now Google is making its mark in the space with its own update.

Specifically, the tech giant tapped ModiFace and Perfect Corp, two companies highly involved in AR beauty technologies, to deliver a feature that gives online shoppers a way to virtually try on makeup without having to deviate from their Search results.

Separately, Google teamed up with Snapchat to put an immersive twist on its ‘Year in Search’ trends overview. Here’s a high-level overview of the latest.

Bringing the benefits of in-store shopping to mobile

Similar to YouTube’s AR feature for makeup try-on launched last year, Google’s latest push utilizes top brands including L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, MAC Cosmetics, Black Opal, and Charlotte Tilbury allowing consumers to try on a variety of makeup products without having to set foot in a store to test the look and feel.

Here’s how it works: When a user searches for a particular lipstick or eyeshadow product such as— “L’Oréal’s Infallible Paints Metallic Eyeshadow,” — they’ll be directed to the virtual try-on shopping experience at the top of their search results. From there, they can browse a library of photos of models representing a range of skin tones to help compare the shades and find the right product for them

“Seventy-three percent of U.S. shoppers are planning to buy online,” said Archana Kannan, Group Product Manager, Shopping and author of the announcement regarding this past holiday season’s expectations. “There are plenty of perks with online shopping, from the convenience of doing it from your couch to the multitude of options right at your fingertips.”

Details aside — the key takeaway here is that more than ever consumers are finding out about products from social media, then clicking through direct links to retailers to make purchases or even transacting directly on social platforms like Facebook or Instagram without leaving the app. A big driver of this shift? Influencers.

Endorsements from experts and enthusiasts

As part of the effort, Google is taking into consideration how consumers ultimately make their decision and a big trend as of late is recommendations from trusted sources like influencers.

In this vein, the company is unveiling recommendations from beauty, apparel and home and garden enthusiasts and experts, including online influencers, when a consumer browses Google Shopping on their phone. For example, hear the latest from professional makeup artist Jonet about makeup looks, or get holiday gift ideas from Homesick Candles.

“Sometimes it’s helpful to get recommendations and see how products work for other people,” explained Kannan. “Once you’ve found a product you love, you’ll be able to easily shop these recommendations.” This feature comes from Shoploop, a product formerly part of Area 120, Google’s in-house incubator.

The ‘Year in Search’ AR experience

The end of the year always seems to be nostalgic and Google and Snapchat are leaning into this in an innovative way. A new Google Lens accessible through Snapchat gives users an interactive walk down memory lane of all the key events of 2020 and noteworthy insights.

For instance, clicking on a photo of a Black Lives Matter protest highlights that compared to the previous year, searches of the term were up five-fold. Further, searches for “protest near me” were made in every state in the country for the first time ever.

“As 2020 comes to an end, Snap and Google have partnered to bring Google’s iconic “Year in Search” story to life with an immersive augmented reality experience. This marks the first time Google’s “Year in Search” has been brought to life in AR, and the campaign’s debut on Snapchat.”

Additionally, Snapchat also reports that for the first time Google will run its “Year in Search” video as ads on the platform.

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The post How Google is Preparing for Fully Immersive AR Environments appeared first on Social Media Week.


How Custom Instagram AR Filters Can Boost Your Brand’s Personality

Augmented reality (AR) filters have been introduced to Instagram since 2017, but more recently the feature has found new momentum through parent company Facebook’s Spark AR Studio, a platform launched in August 2019 that allows users to create customized AR filters for Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, Messenger and Portal.

According to Instagram, one-third of the most viewed Stories on the platform come from businesses and more than 200 million users visit at least one business account each day. While that isn’t to say this tool may be right for every brand, these stats are reason enough to at least test the waters.

Here, we break down the steps for how you can get started, the key benefits it can offer your brand, and a few examples in action to help kick-start your inspiration:

Why create your own original filters?

A primary way creating your own filter can help leverage your brand is by more accurately depicting your brand’s style, flair, and tone of voice — especially if this falls into the fun and playful category. In a sea of information, these elements are critical for forging sustainable relationships and rising above the noise.

Per a Nielsen Catalina study, 56 percent of a brand’s sales lift from digital advertising can be attributed to the quality of the creative. This is largely due to the ability this offers to inform buying decisions. Using our AR filter example, potential customers can “try on” a product before making a purchase. Self-promotion aside, filters can also be used to show the human side to your brand by demonstrating your support for social causes.

Finally, a big draw of creating AR filters for your brand is increased awareness. Anyone visiting your brand’s Instagram profile can click the new face icon to see the AR filters you’ve created. When they share a selfie using one of your filters, their followers, both current and potential, will be exposed to your brand. There’s also an “upload” button that users can use to pocket their favorites for future photos.

For more general context on the growth and power behind the Stories platform, more than 500 million accounts use Stories every day and one-third of the most viewed Stories are from businesses.

Examples in action

Here are just a few samples of brands putting AR filters to use to drive brand awareness and have some fun:

Coca Cola Poland uses the Studio’s World Object Template in a filter that superimposes the brand’s polar bear on top of the real world.

Inès Longevial, a French painter and illustrator who boasts nearly 300k followers on the platform uses the ‘Save the Planet Mask’ to show her support for climate change and a ‘Flower Mask’ to highlight her creative passion and talent.

Ray-Ban launched a Reindeerized filter as a way for consumers to playfully interact with the brand and virtually try on a pair of sunglasses prior to buying.

Getting started: 5 simple steps

If seeing some examples and exploring value-adds for your brand was enough to convince you to get AR filters a try, it’s time to get creative!

Fortunately, getting started with Spark AR Studio is very simple, here are the five steps you’ll need to follow:

1. Download Spark AR Studio.

2. Get familiar.

Take a spin through the tutorials in the Learning Center to familiarize yourself with the platform and interface.

As part of the exercise, you’ll download a sample folder of content to use to follow along, which includes a 3D object (like the polar bear).

3. Start your first project.

You can create a project from scratch or by building off one of eight existing templates. A few important terms to keep in mind include the ‘Stimulator,’ where you’ll preview your work. The default is an iPhone 8 screen, but this can be changed to another device. The other is the ‘Scene panel.’ This is are where all your options live to edit your filter.

4. Test and publish.

Send a test file to Instagram or Facebook to see how your work looks like if it were live within Instagram or Facebook Stories. Alternatively, you can download the Spark AR Player app and preview there.

Once you’re set, press the “upload” button in the bottom left-hand corner directly below the “test on device” button. Note that your new effect won’t be published immediately. First, it will be reviewed to ensure it meets Spark AR’s policies and guidelines.

5. Continue learning!

There’s an endless supply of tutorials in the Learning Center. As you get more confident in your creations, experiment with ways to take your designs to new heights including

  • Using face tracking effects to create a filter that responds to movement
  • Adding hand trackers that make your filter responsive to someone’s touch
  • Creating world effects
  • Incorporating audio

As we encounter opportunities to embrace new forms of technology, it is important to remember that we can move forward innovating without losing what is core to us as people. Whether AR-driven or otherwise, we can highlight the elements of our business that are unique and that demonstrate a deeper level of understanding of consumers.

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The post How Custom Instagram AR Filters Can Boost Your Brand’s Personality appeared first on Social Media Week.