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With our 14 day free trial of 2021 about to expire, the year already feels like an update itself (2020.1 perhaps?), social media platforms have been quick to announce updates we can expect throughout the year with a heavy focus on AR. Here’s a roundup of the changes that have been made so far in 2021:

Facebook

Facebook has already been working towards making its mark on the new year. With wellbeing at the forefront of everyone’s minds, the social media giant has recently launched its new Page layout by placing more focus on following by removing the prominent ‘like’ button. According to the Facebook executives, the move is to safeguard better mental and emotional health while also removing the sense of competition between the users.

You are what you eat takes on a whole new meaning when consuming social media. In addition to removing the like button, Facebook are also planning on releasing their new ‘Project Aria Smart Glasses‘ later this year.

A common situation Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s Hardware Chief, mentioned is parents trying to record memories with their young children: “By the time you get the phone up, not only have you probably missed it, but if you don’t miss it, you’re probably watching the real event but through your phone,” he said. “If you have the right technology, it can get out of the way.”

These may sound familiar to ‘Snapchat’s Spectacles’ and ‘Google Glass’ – both of which never became particularly popular with consumers. It’ll be interesting to see how Project Aria is received.

Twitter

Podcast popularity has been consistently increasing every year, reaching an estimated 15.6 million UK listeners in 2020. During the Covid-19 pandemic Spotify reported that overall podcast consumption doubled, as more brands begin to see opportunity in this format due to its audience reach and ability to build a following. Now, having acquired social podcast app ‘Breaker’ – Twitter is joining in the conversation with Twitter Spaces. Spaces, which is currently going through testing, will be a new audio-based chat room.

Erik Berlin, CEO of Breaker said it will shut down on Jan. 15 “to focus on building what comes next… We’re now inspired to go even further in re-imagining how we communicate with each other, beyond the scope of traditional podcasts.”

TikTok

TikTok is another platform experimenting with AR by using LiDAR technology to create new effects that interact with the real-world environment. As seen below, the glitter falls onto the sofa and the person in the video.

Snapchat

AR is expected to gain significant momentum in 2021 with Snapchat also looking to integrate LiDAR enabled effects into its Lens Studio, enabling creators to build their own Lenses utilizing LiDAR detection.

With platforms now considering users wellbeing and the way we use technology set to change, 2021 is going to be an interesting year for social media!

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