AR, or Augmented Reality has existed for years now. But what is it? Augmented Reality is a technology that uses your device location and camera to map digital objects onto your device. If you were living in Ottawa in the summer of 2016, you may remember the droves of people swarming Confederation Park, or Dick Bell Park, to the point of killing the grass from their prolonged sitting in one spot in large groups playing the recently released Pokemon Go mobile game.
But did you know that this technology has existed before then? In fact, you may have been using it and not even realizing it already. If you have a Snapchat account, you may be familiar with “filters”. These popular dog ears launched as far back as 2015, and before that, there were Geofilters, that could be used to show your location if you were at the mall, or on vacation. Now, these options have expanded, allowing you to play games, or place digital objects in the real word (remember that dancing hot dog?)
But what does this all mean for the future of social media? Well, as more of these filters were released, they served as a form of self-advertising, as people would see images of their friends shared with these humorous filters applied and then want to try these filters out themselves, thus ensuring their popularity.
However, for some it may go too far…revealing their location or activity on the “Snap Map”, a feature that will show users “Bitmoji” characters on the map, as well as whatever activity they’re doing based on what’s in their phone calander, what apps are on, or how long it’s been since the phone was last on. For some, this could be seen as a breach of privacy, and there has been at least one viral post circulating the web about how it poses a security risk for young teens that don’t even know who can see them. You can, however, disable yourself from being seen on the map, but it is defaulted to “On”.
This technology is still in its early years, but it will be interesting to see what effect it will have in the future for social media, and how we will look back on it now.