Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality (AR), Business, Internet, VR World

eBay announces plans for new AR tools, AI development

eBay has joined the ranks of retailers dipping their toes in the augmented and virtual reality waters, according to a Fortune report. The online marketplace announced that it is currently developing an AR kit in order to add AR features to its website later this year.

One proposed feature will allow shoppers to see how an item would look or fit in its intended space–such as by overlaying the image of tires on a car–before making a bid or a purchase. Another feature will let sellers choose the proper box size when packaging merchandise by showing images of the different size options over the item for sale.

Tools like these are intended to making the online shopping experience more fun for potential buyers, according to eBay vice president of buyer experiences Mohan Patt.

eBay also announced on Tuesday that it has hired Jan Pedersen as vice president and chief scientist for artificial intelligence. Pedersen most recently served as the vice president of  data science at Twitter. In a statement, eBay said that Pedersen “will be responsible for charting eBay’s technology strategy as it relates to AI, including enhanced ways in which eBay interacts with its customers.”

Last fall, the company added an AI-powered Image Search feature that uses computer vision and machine learning to find products on the website using photographs uploaded by shoppers. eBay also collaborated with Google in November to let shoppers search for products on eBay through Google Assistant. Now it is focusing its AI efforts on “personalization,” according to Patt, who told Fortune that the company wants to use AI algorithms for things like customizing visitors’ home pages, with the intention of expanding its customer base.