Facebook's AR camera effects platform comes to Instagram

Terry Joseph
May 2, 2018

Kia's AR-enhanced Messenger bot.

The filter platform will operate a little differently on Instagram where people will be exposed to user-designed filters based on the accounts that they follow.

At the F8 developer conference on Tuesday, Facebook announced its latest efforts to turn Messenger into a sleek platform for businesses, this time adding augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) to the service. AR involves putting virtual objects into physical-world experiences via smartphones and other devices.

In addition to basic AR functionalities, the Camera Effects Platform is coming to Instagram, in a closed beta for now.

Blending AR effects and messaging solves a real problem for people shopping online.

This could be important for a number of different situations where visualizing a product is important. The new AR feature will help Facebook meet its goal of making Messenger more visual. Facebook plans to roll out the feature to other countries, with additional languages, sometime in the future.

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At launch, the following brands will be launching AR effects for their Messenger experiences: ASUS, Kia, Nike, and Sephora. ASUS will use it to give customers a closer look at phone features and functionalities. The French cosmetics company, for instance, allows people to try on new makeup and share what it looks like with friends.

Visual messaging has already proven itself to be a powerful way for people to connect with each other; in 2017 alone people shared over 500 billion emoji (nearly 1.7 billion every day) and 18 billion GIFs in Messenger.

The two new features certainly seem to be largely business-focused, but hopefully they'll make checking out products and interacting with businesses a bit easier.

If you're a business interested in incorporating AR effects into your Messenger experience, you can sign up for our waitlist here and be notified when this feature becomes more broadly available.

Naturally, Facebook Messenger is also receiving new augmented reality abilities, with businesses being able to create AR effects for people to use. We see hints of that at Facebook's event today, where the company introduced M Translations, an AI-powered tool that automatically translates languages into the user's default language. This will help drive commerce between buyers and sellers despite language barriers. At launch, Messenger will offer translations from English to Spanish, and vice-versa, in conversations taking place in the United States.

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