Facebook announces new tools to deepen communication in Messenger

Image via The Verge

On the first day of its F8 2018 annual developer conference in San Jose, California, Facebook announced a number of initiatives created to expand the use of augmented reality (AR) across its family of apps, including support for third-party AR filters in Messenger, Instagram and more. The AR camera effects platform will also enable users to try out filters directly from their friends' Stories, so if they see something they haven't seen before, they can see who made it and follow the account. Once a business interacts with a person on Messenger, the business can prompt the user to open the Facebook camera, which will be pre-populated with brand-specific filters and AR effects. Today, there are 200,000 developers actively building experiences, forging connections between people and the brands they love and bringing real value to their everyday lives. You can even use these new AR effects just by viewing an Instagram post utilizing them.

Perhaps the most important new feature is augmented reality in Messenger - and it could seriously bring AR to the masses.




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. The companies which created some of the first examples include Nike (virtual sneakers), Asus (a smartphone), Kia (a Stinger auto you can plunk in your own driveway), and Sephora (virtual makeup effects). This feature is the latest addition for the Facebook AR Studio, which powers expressive and immersive experiences across our family of apps. The new AR feature will help Facebook meet its goal of making Messenger more visual. And Sephora is making trying on new makeup easier than ever with a selection of looks to try on and share.

First, Facebook on Tuesday announced that buyers and sellers on Marketplace, its hyperlocal e-commerce portal, will be able to communicate across languages on Messenger with the help of M, Facebook's AI-powered digital assistant. At launch, translations from English to Spanish (and vice-versa) will be available in Marketplace conversations taking place in the US.

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