Facebook Inc.’s messaging app, Messenger, will be using an augmented reality feature to allow people to see products they are shopping for.

The social networking giant launched the said technology on Tuesday to let users see the products as if they already own them, such as a car parked in a driveway, in a move aimed at drawing in potential advertisers.

Silicon Valley tech firms are pouring money into augmented reality, a mix of the real and digital world best known from the game Pokemon Go.

Reportedly, Facebook is launching a new toolkit for software developers to make augmented reality features.

AR on Messenger


With augmented reality on the messaging app -- shoppers will be able to visualize and potentially test out products that advertisers have made available, according to the head of Messenger app, David Marcus.

Similar augmented-reality features have thrived on retailer apps such as Amazon.com Inc. and Ikea, which let people see how a toaster or couch would look in a room.

Likewise, Facebook – the world’s largest social media network – has been encouraging businesses to use its messaging app to talk with consumers, sometimes, for customer service.

Having business using Messenger helps Facebook’s advertising business, Marcus said. Marketers can place ads directly in the service, and Facebook sells ads in its News Feed that connect to Messenger conversations.

Messenger and the News Feed also create a feedback loop like a “flywheel” for ad sales, Marcus added.

Moreover, he was not worried about ads turning off Messenger users. People must opt in to talk with a business on the service. “People actually find it helpful,” he said.

Messenger is trying to attract businesses in other ways, such as automated chat "bots" that can reply to customer inquiries. There are 300,000 bots on Messenger, three times more than a year ago.

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