- Facebook announced a new feature Tuesday that would let users message companies to see products ahead of time in augmented reality.
- ASUS, Nike, Kia, and Sephora are the first companies participating in the closed beta test.
- Facebook also announced updates to its AR platform for developers: Its AR Studio tool got an update, and augmented reality effects are coming to Instagram.
Facebook is bringing augmented reality to online shopping.
The embattled social media giant announced Tuesday it’s testing a feature in Facebook Messenger that would allow users to see what they’re buying ahead of time with AR. The announcement was made at Facebook’s annual F8 developers conference where the company publicly announces new features to developers and the public.
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.
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.
Facebook says, a user will able to send a message on Facebook to look more closely at the features of an ASUS computer, see a new car from Kia, get a “visual red carpet” experience with a new pair of sneakers from Nike, and try on Sephora makeup.
“This feature – launching in closed beta – leverages the nature of messaging to help people get valuable, instant feedback about purchases, customizations, and more, without ever needing to set foot in a store,” said David Marcus, VP of Messenger, in a blog post.
Facebook opened up its AR developers platform last year, but the technology hasn’t seen widespread, mainstream adoption yet. In Facebook Stories, users already use AR when selecting a Snapchat-like filter. Apple and Google, too, opened up their platforms to developers last year so developers can make third-party AR apps.
To that end, Facebook also announced an update to its AR Studio software for developers, making it easier for them to build three-dimensional models that can be overlaid over the real world. Plus, Facebook also announced augmented reality effects will be coming to Instagram.