Facebook Marketplace is neither Craigslist nor eBay, but it’s going to take big bites of both

If you hadn’t already noticed, Facebook would just love it if you never, ever left its social media site. The company keeps coming up with convincing ways to keep you hooked, and today marks the launch of just one more reason to hang around: Facebook Marketplace. In many ways, it’s like Craigslist in that users will now be able to buy and sell stuff with other nearby users.

The rollout is just starting to happen so you may not have it yet, but eventually you’ll see a little shopping icon on the bottom of your Facebook app, right where the Messenger icon is now. Tap it, and and Marketplace opens, showing photos of items people in your area have listed. If you’re shopping for something specific, a little search bar with filters is available at the top. You can also browse by categories like electronics, apparel, housewares, etc.

The app defaults to your location but you can search in any area or city you want. Once you tap on an item you’ll see details about both the item and the seller, and if you want it, you’ll be directed to contact the seller. After that, how you coordinate is completely up to you. Also of note is that you have to be 18 or older to use Marketplace, and it’s only available in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand for now.

There’s no payment portal, so it’s not like eBay, that’s all handled privately between buyer and seller, but you know if Facebook adds some kind of payment service, this could really blow up. In the meantime, we’re wondering how much this might cannibalize Craigslist traffic. Probably not too much, since Craigslist is a popular destination for many other reasons, but it does kind of spread the private seller’s market a little thin.

Toyota gets cute with little robot

Here’s something we think you’ll get a kick out of: Toyota just announced it’s going to sell cute little robots in some of its Japanese dealerships as cuddly companions who are always on hand for “heart-touching communication.” The bot is called Kiboro Mini and it’s got a camera that allows it to recognize facial expressions. It then uses that information to detect your emotions and act accordingly, changing the way it speaks and behaves.

To get the most out of the robot, users will want to pair it with their smartphones and download a specific app. The robot is said to be able to engage in casual conversation while learning its companions’ behaviors and adjusting itself accordingly. And the more connected your home and car are, the more it will know about you. The robot is expected to cost the equivalent of $400 US. No word yet on if or when we might see Kiboro stateside.

Coolest coffee table ever?

Finally, check out the Sisyphus Sand Drawing table, made by a man named Bruce Shapiro. It uses a robot and a magnet to draw these cool patterns in the sand, and it never stops, hence the name. Believe it or not, the smaller end table version is just an $800 Kickstarter pledge away, though, as always, support at your own risk. You’ll have to pony up $945 for the 3-foot coffee table version, but WOW.

With an October 2017 delivery promised, maybe this is a chance to get a gift for that person on your list who has everything, because they definitely don’t have one of those.

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