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JackThreads Turns Google+ Hangouts Into Virtual Try-On Rooms

The tech will be on display at Wednesday's Google I/O conference.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Many people use the Google+ Hangouts service for video chats. Men’s e-commerce company JackThreads wants to make it a virtual dressing room.

JackThreads, which sells clothes and accessories for young men, has built a feature using Hangouts that gives its customers an idea of how sunglasses and hats will look on them before they buy. JackThreads will be showing it off today in the developer sandbox at the Google I/O conference.

The feature was built with the help of the Hangouts API, which allowed JackThreads’ product team to take advantage of the service’s facial recognition technology. That means that when a JackThreads shopper clicks on a hat or pair of sunglasses using the feature, the accessory is automatically positioned over the customer’s eyes or atop his head in the video image.

I tried it out, and it seemed to work better with glasses than with hats. But some say I have an oddly-shaped head, so I’ll shoulder some of the blame.

Still, the execution is silly and fun, which is a big part of the goal here. JackThreads product pages will include a label to let shoppers know they can open up Hangouts to “try on” the product. Once in Hangouts, shoppers can invite friends into the chat to take a look.

JackThreads will launch the beta version of the feature, dubbed JACKcessories, as part of a special sunglass sale on Wednesday evening.

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