At last year's Facebook F8 developer conference, CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg outlined his company's 10-year roadmap to making the world "more open and connected." At this year's F8, which kicked off yesterday in San Jose, he introduced his company's new platform for achieving that goal via augmented reality (AR): the Camera Effects Platform.

Launching in closed beta, the new platform is "Act Two" in Facebook's AR ambitions, Zuckerberg said. Act One involved bringing smartphone camera support across all of Facebook's applications, including Messenger, Events, and Instagram.

During his keynote kickoff for F8 yesterday, Zuckerberg (pictured above) once again emphasized his belief that Facebook in all its incarnations will help "bring people closer together" and overcome the current polarization in society.

He also briefly acknowledged the "tragedy in Cleveland," in which Steve Stephens shot to death a randomly chosen victim, Robert Godwin, on Sunday and then posted video of the crime on Facebook. After being pursued by law enforcement for two days, Stephens shot himself to death in Pennsylvania yesterday.

Camera is 'the First AR Platform'

During his F8 kickoff speech, Zuckerberg noted that he had once believed the transition to augmented reality technologies would begin with eyeglasses. However, with the pervasiveness of smartphones and their ability to support photo- and video-sharing, it's become clear the phone will lead that technological change, he said. "Today we're going to start building this platform together," he said. "We're making the camera the first AR platform."

Augmented reality applications will enable people to use their smartphones to display and share location-based information, such as tips about favorite menus items at a local restaurant, with friends and family, Zuckerberg said.

They will also enable users to add digital objects or enhancements to their cameras' views of the real world, allowing artists to create augmented reality street art on blank walls in their communities or parents to play digital 3D action games with their children on empty tables while waiting for appointments at their doctors' offices.

"It's going to take a while for this to develop," Zuckerberg said. "Over time, I do think this is going to be a really important technology that changes how we use our phones and, eventually, all technology."

New Social, Collaborative Offerings

In addition to launching the Camera Effects Platform, Facebook introduced several other new offerings on the first day of the conference, including the Facebook Spaces VR social application for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, the Developer Circles collaborative community and Places Graph, which opens up access to place names, addresses, photos, consumer ratings, and more for over 140 million places around the world.

Facebook is also rolling out new features and applications for businesses that use its bot technologies or its Workplace collaborative platform. For example, a new Discover tab on the Facebook Messenger platform will make it easier for users to find particular bots out of the many that are available, or scan Messenger Codes with their cameras to access information and offerings from particular businesses.

New integrations with Facebook's Workplace offering are also aimed at making it easier for users to collaborate using third-party applications such as Microsoft Office, Box, or Salesforce Relevant Products/Services. The company also announced new partnerships with Disco, Skyhigh, Netskope and Smarsh to support regulatory and compliance requirements for data loss prevention and e-discovery.