Facebook Announces Expansion of AR Across its Apps at F8 2018

Facebook Announces Expansion of AR Across its Apps at F8 2018

The embattled social media giant announced Tuesday it's testing a feature in Facebook Messenger that would allow users to see what they're buying ahead of time with AR.

So while Sephora's bot could direct a potential customer to virtually try on different types of makeup, Nike could show off how a new shoe looks from any angle, and Kia could make a virtual auto appear in your driveway. Buyers and sellers connected through Facebook's Marketplace will have the option of using Messenger's intelligent bot to translate messages from English to Spanish, and vice-versa.

Facebook Messenger now does voice calls, video calls, payments, games, a camera feature, groups, and tons more ancillary features than you could shake a stick at.

The idea, according to Facebook, is to integrate these types of experiences into the types of conversations already happening via Messenger bots. Facebook rolled out M in Messenger with limited functionality past year. It said that the AR feature would give people a better way to look at products before purchasing them, and that M translations would help drive commerce by removing language barriers.

M Suggestions now operate in 11 countries and are available in English, German, Spanish, French, and Thai.

AR features are limited to a handful of companies for now - including Kia, Nike, Sephora, and Asus - but Facebook plans to eventually make it available more widely. The feature will be rolled out in the United States gradually over the coming weeks, and Facebook will continue to add languages and countries. 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.

Facebook also now has a partnership with Sketchfab, providing access to a library of downloadable models that can be added to AR Studio projects.

Other new capabilities include new tracking capabilities (body tracking, hand tracking and high-fidelity face tracking), as well as background segmentation to separate people from their background. 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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