Periscope is following Snapchat and Facebooks lead by creating its own animated augmented reality selfie masks. The first ones can make you look like Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, and will be available for the next week for the election. If you broadcast in selfie mode with the iOS apps latest version, youll see them docked at the bottom of the screen. Tapping them automatically adds them to your face, and you can get a friend in frame to use both masks at the same time.
A Twitter spokesperson tells me Theyre just meant to be an entertaining way to have convos around the election and a reminder for everyone to vote.Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour tells me Theyre fun and it made sense for this use case.
Periscope reveals these arent the only creative tools its working on, writing These Election Day masks are a lighthearted example of the types of tools our team is working on to help you create compelling live video. Were excited to bring you more advanced tools soon. Periscope added its first creative tool, overlaid drawing, back in April.The election masks wont be coming to Android but future creative tools might.
Unlike the illustrated masks seen on other services, Periscopes Hillary and Trump masks are essentially photos with moving mouths that stick to your face wherever it moves. In fact, Periscope credited the photographers in its announcement, Masks image credit:Hillary Clinton with Supporters by Gage Skidmore, used under CC-BY-SA 2.0/ modified from original; Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore, used under CC-BY-SA 2.0/ modified from original.
The masks, which Beykpour described as ventriloquist style, look a bit like JibJabs cartoons. When asked why, he said because we think Jib Jab is entertaining and fun.
Selfie masks could make users feel more comfortable broadcasting on Periscope because they obscure their faces. Shyness is a top factor discouraging users from getting on camera, which is why Snapchat has made them the flagship feature of its app, and Facebook quickly copied them by acquiring selfie mask startup MSQRD and later adding them to Facebook Live.
Now Periscope wont be left out. While serious citizen journalism and expert Q&As have been Periscopes core uses, branching out into more playful territory could attract a mainstream audience. If Periscope adds more masks, or launches filters and other effects, it could get people to stream even if theyre having a bad hair day or look a little haggard.
The question will be whether Periscope can keep up. Snapchat and Facebook both acquired selfie mask startups to jumpstart their features, and have been aggressively hiring augmented reality engineers. Periscopes comparatively lean operation within its financially strapped parent company Twitter may not be able to build accurate object recognition and tracking or design as many zany masks as quickly.
But at least getting the first masks out the door helps Periscope show its intent to adopt augmented reality, which reduces differentiation for its competitors and could attract AR talent to the company.