Facebook Messenger launches translations by intelligent assistant M

Facebook debuts Messenger AR and translation tools for businesses

Facebook debuts Messenger AR and translation tools for businesses

All of these are pretty simple and depend on novelty as much as anything to be interesting, but Facebook messaging VP David Marcus told me Messenger's new features address what marketers need right now. 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).

At F8 that begins on Tuesday, Facebook is launching a new toolkit for software developers to make AR features. 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.

The idea, according to Facebook, is to integrate these types of experiences into the types of conversations already happening via Messenger bots. 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.

The new feature, which is being tested in closed beta, will allow a roster of four select companies - ASUS, Nike, Kia, and Sephora - to show users a preview of something they want to buy beforehand using augmented reality, technology that superimposes a computer generated image onto the real world.

Facebook is also working to improve Facebook M, the digital assistant that lives within Facebook Messenger. Facebook says M's translating powers will roll out first to conversations that originate in Marketplace, and only to English and Spanish speakers in the U.S.

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We plan to expand this feature and gradually roll out M suggestions for translations to people using Messenger in the United States in the coming weeks, and as we continue to iterate and improve upon the translation experience in Messenger we will launch this functionality in additional languages and countries.

Communication on Messenger is increasingly visual, Facebook continues to point out. In the near future, users will be able to add custom libraries to AR Studio with a JS library API.

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.

WhatsApp, another Facebook-owned messaging service with more than one billion users, has sworn off advertising.

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