Facebook F8 Day 1: Instagram AR is here, VR roadmap revealed

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There are now more than 300,000 active bots on the platform, and 200,000 developers building on it, Facebook said Tuesday.

On the first day of its F8 2018 annual developer conference in San Jose, California, Facebook announced a number of initiatives created to expand the use of augmented reality (AR) across its family of apps, including support for third-party AR filters in Messenger, Instagram and more. Camera Effects are user-developed filters and augmented reality effects that people can easily share with others.

This change will do a lot to promote more appropriate filters being suggested to users in a way that Snapchat's platform just isn't set up to handle.

The other newly announced feature, M translations, is expected to reduce the language barrier in order to help businesses sell more goods and services. Now, buyers and sellers in Marketplace can communicate with people who don't speak their language. A few brands will support the feature at launch - Asus, Kia, Nike, and Sephora. The new AR feature will help Facebook meet its goal of making Messenger more visual. The companies which created some of the first examples include Nike (virtual sneakers), Asus (a smartphone), Kia (a Stinger vehicle you can plunk in your own driveway), and Sephora (virtual makeup effects).

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One of the key differentiators for people and businesses using Messenger is the ability to connect and reach people around the world.

The feature is part of AR Studio, a tool for building interactive experiences for the Facebook camera. In other words, if users in Marketplace get a message that's in a language other than their default language, they'll be asked if they want that language translated. At launch, translations from English to Spanish (and vice-versa) will be available in Marketplace conversations taking place in the US.

We can't thank enough the businesses and developers that continue to build on the Messenger Platform and amaze us and their customers with unique and engaging experiences.

Communication on Messenger is increasingly visual, Facebook continues to point out. We can't wait to see how businesses and brands will leverage these tools going forward.