Most of you reading this article have played Pokémon Go. You may have deleted it at this point but let’s admit it, you probably contributed to the craze that swept most of the world during the summer of 2016. By getting people to go out and walk around and interact with the real world in a virtual setting, Niantic, the game’s creators, we’re able to effectively mold the two worlds together, while allowing veteran and new-coming players to interact with beloved characters from their childhood.
One of the least used but equally cool features of the app allowed users to “catch wild Pokémon” using the camera on the back of their smartphones, placing the “wild Pokémon” anywhere the camera was pointed. This wild Pokémon could end up on your desk or in a tree or behind you as you walked down the sidewalk and you’d have to angle yourself in the real world to see it and try to catch it.
This is called Augmented Reality (AR). AR is an increasingly engaged way to view and interact with content and it’s only going to get bigger as newer technology comes out. Some examples of AR and some products that use it are Google Glass, and while it’s not a thing anymore, it’s a great example of something that could happen in the future. There’s also Microsoft Holo Lens which is a prototype design that consists of a headset with headphones that bring up a HUD (Heads Up Display) which users can interact with via voice or hand movements that trigger sensors projected in front of the user wearing the headset.
And then there are Snapchat Spectacles.
While not everyone knows what Spectacles are, I personally think Snapchat is the closest to what AR will look like in the future and how people will be able to use it in their everyday lives. Spectacles are these big, bright sunglasses that feature a small camera on the front that connects directly via Bluetooth to the Snapchat app on your phone. It can record video with audio or take photos that can be accessed within the app to then be shared to people via Snapchat Stories.
Not everyone is a fan of Spectacles though, mostly because of the style of the glasses but to me, I think they’re a move in the right direction. Giving people the ability to share content directly in front of them in an easily accessible manner is the future of social media, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of companies and social networks take steps like this to create AR avenues to allow users to easily share content.