A good deal of "alternate reality" talk in recent years has revolved around virtual reality, but as time goes on, it becomes increasingly clear that augmented reality is going to be the one that makes the biggest splash. At least in the near term.
Last year, the success of Pokemon GO proved that AR has some serious potential, and now, the biggest companies in the industry are pushing their own AR efforts hard. One example is Facebook, which announced at its F8 developer's conference this week a brand-new AR platform, with a small group of developers being granted access to it right now.
On stage, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it apparent that his company saw AR as being a major part of our futures. He even teased that some of the objects in our own homes don't even need to be there - your $500 TV could be one day replaced with a $1 app.
Interestingly, this massive move by Facebook came the very same day its arch-rival Snapchat revealed its own new AR feature, allowing people to inject a variety of objects into their videos. Facebook's ambitions go well beyond that, though.
One interesting example Zuckerberg gave was leaving a note outside of a restaurant for your friends to see, recommending them a particular dish. The opportunities are grand, and ideas like these highlight just how differently life could feel in just a few short years.
Facebook's AR push with this new platform doesn't affect its VR efforts. Zuckerberg has admitted in the past that getting the VR ecosystem off the ground has been challenging, and it seems likely that Facebook will have to invest billions more before traction is gained. Also at its F8 conference, the company revealed Facebook Spaces, proving that it's not going to be too hasty in deciding on one technology to pursue over the other. That's a great thing, as VR has a lot to offer in its own right.