With holidays just round the corner, Facebook has a gift for all Messenger users. The company adds a new package of features that are going to please animated gif and Augmented Reality fans alike. The three most notable additions are the new Facebook AR stickers, Boomerang support, and a new, stay-in-focus selfie mode.
It is the busiest time of year. Time when a line is drawn between what has been and what will be. In light of the recently dusted Oculus issue, Facebook is moving on to a fresh start, covering the bad publicity in the white of forgetful AR snow. Messenger is adding a pack of features all to do with camera effects. It is a sensible move, given that 20 million people enjoy Facebook’s effects.
Perhaps the biggest change is the added support for Boomerang effect that lets users create short, 1-second long looped videos. Much like on Instagram, users can now make gifs out of themselves on the Messenger too. Also, there is a new selfie mode with effect added for a better face focus. The mode blurs the background a bit, while it paints a slight glow over faces.
Still, one that interest us the most is the addition of Facebook AR stickers. Users can integrate the AR images onto the photos and send them around. With AR stickers, Facebook is building up the AR community within Messenger, adding them to the already present set of AR video call games.
Facebook Messenger does get new features, but these do not undermine the integrity of the app. To refresh your memory, Facebook recently, October it was, launched a revamped, 4th edition of its famous app. Apparently, the older version had become cramped with sets of both useful and useless features that it had somewhat shaded its main purpose – that of communication. The Messenger 4 launched in October is all about simplicity, putting the emphasis back on the message rather than additional content. The new features, Facebook AR stickers in particular, are thus carefully developed to boost communication rather than cramp it.
And it is here where the line between the success of AR and the current struggle of VR is to be drawn. Facebook is apparently trying to make it a challenge to differ the two, but there is a stark difference with regards as to how both affect our daily routines. It was always the race who gets into our phones quicker. Virtual Reality is robust, requires total devotion, whereas AR is lighter in nature and presents a ‘natural’, unassuming upgrade over the existing technology. It is easier on the eye, and does not require a change of habits that VR does.
Back to Messenger apps, they are all shaping up similarly at the moment. Now that Boomerang is everywhere, AR empowered features as well, there really is not any app related incentive to choose between them. Still though, there are 440 million stickers sent daily via FB Messenger alone who deserve new Facebook AR stickers into their camera arsenal.