Facebook is clearly trying to evolve its Messenger app into something that could very well be a standalone social media.
For those of us who started using Facebook since it was introduced almost 10 years ago, we recognise the Messenger as just a feature on the main website (and later the app) that lets us instantly communicate with friends.
Over the years though, it became clear that Facebook sees Messenger as a lot more than that, as it transitioned from being just a chat feature, to becoming a full blown ecosystem.
The Facebook Messenger Of Today
This is the Messenger of today. It is an app and website by itself, able to function independently of the main Facebook app and site. This means that you no longer have to be on Facebook to chat with friends (good for those who like to deactivate their profiles often).
You can chat, send stickers, photos, videos and voice recording. Meanwhile, you can also make calls and video calls. Everything you can think of seems to be there, negating the use of additional apps for multiple functions.
If that’s not enough, Facebook even crammed in a mini games arcade into Messenger, letting you compete with friends for high scores.
And you would think that they would have been done by now. Far from it.
Introducing The Latest Messenger Camera
As Christmas approaches, Facebook decided to give the Messenger’s camera feature a massive “upgrade”, and it’s one Instagram recently received as well.
Just like how they had more or less taken inspiration from Snapchat for Instagram’s Stories feature, Facebook is doing the same for Messenger. In its latest update, expect the camera tab in your app to do more than just take a photo of yourself.
Facebook says that you can now put on 3D masks, artistic filters and special effects to “turn your world into a work of art.”
Of course, these type of features are anything but new. Snapchat has had them for some time, and with the rise in popularity of apps such as MSQRD, expect more of your friends to transform into farm animals.
Besides if you didn’t know, MSQRD was acquired by Facebook back in March, so it is likely that they had a hand in these new developments.
Facebook has also added thousands of stickers, frames, masks and effects, creations from their collaborations with artists and influencers from all around the world. These account for roughly a third of the filters, and they are region and demographic specific.
So that filter you used at home could change into something else entirely the moment you step into another country.
Facebook essentially wants any bit of text you put on a photo to be a filter, on top of all the other filters you will eventually stack on.
And if that’s not enough, a Snapchat Stories clone has been in the works in select countries since September, and it’s called Messenger Day.
With the launch of these Snapchat-like camera features though, we expect that Messenger Day will arrive pretty soon.
The Facebook Advantage
Messenger is now home to more than a billion global users. Unlike Snapchat, Messenger is not something that requires a learning curve. It has always been present as a part of Facebook, only that it is now vastly different from what it used to be.
Facebook says that the new Messenger camera is more than just about having fun. It also wants to help you make plans, express your thoughts, or simply just to show your friends what’s up.
It is an age where effective visual communication trumps simple text messages, and entire conversations can be carried out just with emojis.
As people become overly reliant on the convenience of technology, perhaps the people behind it all felt the need to make digital communication less cold and more emotional.
And apparently, an “Okay” in rainbows and glitter comes across as being a whole lot friendlier than a simple “Okay” message with a full stop.