Facebook’s annual developer conference, F8, kicks off in San Jose, California, today. The two-day event is filled with talks and workings sessions to help developers, advertisers, and publishers use Facebook more effectively and build its future. It needs the help: Facebook’s vision for its future in recent months has looked a lot like a patchwork quilt of ideas lifted from other software companies. One of the companies that Facebook has leaned most heavily on for ideas is Snapchat. The company has incorporated ”stories”—the ability to post public photos or short videos that disappear after a day, just as they do on Snapchat—into just about every single one of its products.
As developers congregated in California to talk Facebook, Snapchat announced a new feature that Facebook won’t have time to rip off—before the conference ends, at least.
When taking a Snapchat with a phone’s rear-facing camera, users can now choose to add three-dimensional artwork (called “World Lenses”) to their snaps. They’re a form of augmented reality, existing in the digital space of the snap being taken, that The New York Times compared to the digital sprites found in last summer’s mobile hit, Pokémon Go. Users can interact with the new filters in similar ways to the ones Snapchat launched about a year ago for selfies. At the time of publication, there was one filter where users could toss seeds into the world around them to plant flowers, another that placed a resizable, 3D word “hello,” and one that placed a very happy looking rainbow onto the world.
Expect a swift response from Facebook—once its developers are back from F8.