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Before Facebook suddenly acquired Instagram in 2012, it was building its own photo editing app called… Before getting shut down to give Instagram room to breathe, it taught the company about multi-image uploads and color filters. It’s testing some of the same features in Facebook proper as are launching today on Messenger, in a multi-pronged attack on Snapchat, which has become its most cunning competitor.
The new camera is also at the heart of Messenger’s direct Snapchat Stories clone called “Messenger Day” that debuted a few months ago in Poland and is now testing in 15 countries.
“When I already know what I want to say, how do I personalize what I’m saying?
” That’s how Messenger Director of Product Management Peter Martinazzi describes the intent of all these new features.
“A lot more conversations are starting from photos,” Facebook’s head of Messenger David Marcus tells me. “We wanted to make sure we could be a first-class citizen when it comes to visual messaging, and naturally for that you need a good camera.” Indeed, 2.5 billion photos, videos, emoji and stickers are already sent each day on Messenger, now that emergent behavior is getting the product support it deserves.
Selfie Masks, Style Transfers and Effects: Before you shoot, you can add different Snapchat-style 3D selfie masks, filters that make your images look like paintings and environmental effects.
Art Picker: After you shoot, tap on the Smiley icon atop the camera screen and you’ll pull up a tray of all the different art you can add.
They’re divided into categories like “I’m Doing,” “I’m Feeling” and “Who’s Up For?
,” which combine art and utility to turn boring text messages into eye-catching imagery so you’ll be more social.