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Facebook brings more AR features to Messenger

The social network also opens up its AR Studio platform more broadly to try to get more augmented-reality content onto Facebook.

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Facebook wants more people creating augmented reality content for its social network.

Facebook

Facebook is taking big steps to bring more augmented reality to its services.

For the uninitiated, augmented reality, or AR, lets people superimpose virtual graphics on top of real world images. It's what gives you digital sunglasses or dog ears in Snapchat and Instagram.

The social network on Tuesday said it's bringing a new feature, called World Effects, to its Messenger chat app. The feature lets you add 3D objects you can interact with to your pictures or videos -- like putting a heart over someone's head or adding a robot that plays music to an image.

Separately, Facebook also said that it's expanding its AR Studios platform, first announced in April during Facebook's F8 developer conference, to the general pubic. The set of tools allows users to create AR content for Facebook. Initially, AR Studios was only open to around 2,000 brands, publishers and artists.

The expansion comes as rivals Google and Apple invest more heavily in AR. Apple earlier this year announced a platform called ARKit that lets software developers build AR apps for iPhones. Google followed suit in August with its own platform for Android-powered phones, called ARCore.

This isn't the only investment Facebook has made in AR. The company developed an augmented reality art installation on its corporate campus in Menlo Park, California. The company worked with San Francisco artist Heather Day to create a digital mural you can only see by looking at it though a special app on your phone. 

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