Facebook to lure shoppers with augmented reality

Judy Cobb
May 2, 2018

We see hints of that at Facebook's event today, where the company introduced M Translations, an AI-powered tool that automatically translates languages into the user's default language.

One of the key differentiators for people and businesses using Messenger is the ability to connect and reach people around the world.

Facebook may launch a pair of smart speakers featuring its M assistant internationally first, only later offering them in the US. To date, there are over 300,000 active bots on Messenger, and over 8 billion messages are exchanged between people and businesses each month; that's 4x the amount of messages exchanged since just a year ago.

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The social media giant is also launching a feature that translates between English and Spanish and vice-versa. As part of a closed beta, Facebook is allowing a handful of brands to bring special AR filters to Messenger, such as Sephora, KIA, Nike and ASUS, allowing them to offer a number of AR overlays using the camera. Kia will use it to let people try customizing the Kia Stinger. The companies which created some of the first examples include Nike (virtual sneakers), Asus (a smartphone), Kia (a Stinger vehicle you can plunk in your own driveway), and Sephora (virtual makeup effects). Messenger is gaining momentum at scale as we continue to invest in new platform features and improve existing ones thanks to the feedback from our community. On the back end, Facebook has been growing its data center footprint and building the infrastructure it needs to accommodate more immersive content, such as live video, 360 photos and AR and VR. AR Studio has new visual programming abilities that will let anyone drag-and-drop custom animations with their own actions and logic without having to write any code. Finally, all these cool effects will be able to leave the Facebook app proper; you'll be able to distribute AR apps that can be viewed with Instagram and Messenger, a system that's already in closed beta on each of the platforms.

Facebook is partnering with Sketchfab. Creators can now more easily import existing 3D assets into their AR experiences, and Facebook Pages that publish AR apps will soon get to track their use with analytics.

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