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).
When communicating with one of these companies on Facebook Messenger, users can prompt the company - by typing "try on looks" for example - to open up the camera to use the feature.
Perhaps the most important new feature is augmented reality in Messenger - and it could seriously bring AR to the masses. 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 past year. 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. Inclusion of Facebook's AI assistant M will make both speakers smart, enabling them to take on Google Home, Amazon Echo, and other similar devices.
Now, when someone in Marketplace receives a message in a language that's different from their default language in Messenger, M will offer to translate the message.
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What's the point? David Marcus, vice president of Messenger, said in a blog post that with many products, people need to "visualize a product... without ever having to set foot in a store" - though he doesn't mention a little company up in Seattle that has done pretty well selling stuff online without AR or a messaging app.
The feature will launch with English and Spanish translations of Marketplace conversations in the U.S. and will be extended to general Messenger use in coming weeks, the service said in a blog post. Marketers can place ads directly in the service, and Facebook sells ads in its News Feed that connect to Messenger conversations.
Facebook also now has a partnership with Sketchfab, providing access to a library of downloadable models that can be added to AR Studio projects.
Facebook is partnering with Sketchfab. In Facebook Stories, users already use AR when selecting a Snapchat-like filter. It's launching now in closed beta on Instagram and Messenger and is coming soon to Facebook Lite.