Facebook Brings AR Tools to Messenger Bots

May 09, 2018

At the Facebook f8 developers conference last week, the company rolled out new features to augment the Messenger platform to help brands sell more.

The first is M Translate, which allows buyers and sellers in the marketplace to communicate across languages. When people connected through Marketplace receive a message in a language that is different from their default language in Messenger, M will ask them if they want to translate the message. At launch, translations from English to Spanish (and vice-versa) will be available in Marketplace conversations taking place in the US.

The second is AR for the Messenger Platform. As part of a closed beta, Facebook is allowing a handful of brands to bring special AR filters to Messenger. Users who engage with the select brands on Messenger will have the option to access AR through a special button, which opens up their phone camera, and offers a number of branded AR overlays. At launch, ASUS will bring to life an “unboxing experiences” of a phone and Kia will let customers get up close with the new Kia Stinger. Nike will be dropping a new pair of kicks, and users can get a sneak peek through a curated and visual red carpet experience. And of course, Sephora, which has been on the cutting edge of beauty AR will have a new selection of makeup to try and share.

Photos and videos made with camera effects can be shared with friends in Messenger conversations or added to a Facebook story.

Bots can share a link to an AR Studio experience via Messenger, but it can also do things like asking a user if they want to take a test drive or speak with a human. According to Venture Beat, initial tests of home page ads last year found that the sale of high-price items was more likely to occur when a human was looped into a conversation instead of only speaking an automated bot.

Facebook says that developers have built more than 300,000 bots for Messenger, which is up from 100,000 last year, and total message volume has grown by four times over the past year, to 8 billion messages a day.

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