Facebook announces new tools to deepen communication in Messenger

Facebook announces new tools to deepen communication in Messenger

Today, there are 200,000 developers on the Messenger platform and 300,000 active bots.

Though Facebook shuttered its M chatbot in Messenger earlier this year, sources say the company shifted its focus for the product, instead intending it to launch in the smart speakers, among other things.

The news comes as WhatsApp - Facebook's other, more popular messaging platform - continues to struggle with balancing monetization efforts with its stronger commitment to user privacy.

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. Facebook rolled out M in Messenger with limited functionality previous year.

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.

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M Suggestions now operate in 11 countries and are available in English, German, Spanish, French, and Thai.

Messenger already has an artificial intelligence capability called "M" that enhances the service, but applying it to translations is something new. Plus, Facebook also announced augmented reality effects will be coming to Instagram. Buyers and sellers connected through Facebook's Marketplace will have the option of using Messenger's intelligent bot to translate messages from English to Spanish, and vice-versa. From there, brands can encourage customers to share the images they create with friends to get feedback on their potential purchases. A few brands will support the feature at launch - Asus, Kia, Nike, and Sephora. Nike is using it to give customers a sneak peek at new sneakers, and Sephora will use it to let customers "try on" make up.

Along with its news, Messenger is sharing some stats relating to its announcements from last year's F8. On the back end, Facebook has been growing its data center footprint and building the infrastructure it needs to accommodate more immersive content, such as live video, 360 photos and AR and VR. So a company won't be able to message you to try out its new AR feature unless you've previously interacted on Messenger or you click on an ad from one of the participating brands from your News Feed. Facebook partnered up with Sketchfab, which provides a library of models you can download and use in your own projects. The updated AR Studio also includes location AR, enabling users to tie AR effects to real-world places, making pre-determined experiences available when people get to a certain location.

Facebook will be rolling out this redesign sometime "very soon".

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