Facebook has given its popular Messenger app the ability to translate missives in real time, deploying artificial intelligence to enable text conversations between people using different languages.
Messenger has become a tool for businesses to connect with customers, and the ability to converse with customers in a variety of languages could help bump up advertising.
“The ability to speak with anyone without any language barrier is something we are really excited about,” Messenger chief David Marcus said as Facebook kicked off its annual developers conference here.
Buyers and sellers in Marketplace at Messenger will be able to communicate across languages, according to Marcus.
The feature will launch with English and Spanish translations of Marketplace conversations in the US and will be extended to general Messenger use in coming weeks, the service said in a blog post.
Additional languages and countries are to be gradually added.
Messenger already has an artificial intelligence capability called “M” that enhances the service, but applying it to translations is something new.
Other companies also are using artificial intelligence to break language barriers.
Amazon employs it in a translation feature in its leading platform for hosting content or services in the internet cloud, while Microsoft uses it for translations in its Skype messaging service.
Google last year hit the market with Pixel earbuds capable of real-time translation of conversations in dozens of languages.
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