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article imageFacebook Messenger gets a new camera that's basically Snapchat

By James Walker     Dec 15, 2016 in Technology
Facebook has unveiled an overhaul of Messenger's in-app camera that turns the chat app into another Snapchat clone. You can now create photo art in message threads. Facebook is experimenting with features lifted from Snapchat in all its major properties.
The new camera was launched today, just in time for the holiday season. Facebook said it will make conversations "better than ever" by bringing 3D masks and special effects to conversations on Messenger.
The new camera experience starts with the revamped shutter button. It's now prominently displayed on the Messenger homepage in a new stylised form. Facebook will change the design periodically to notify you about seasonal holiday events and new effects that have been added.
The camera can be accessed by pulling down on the main Messenger screen, the shutter button or the camera icon. It's behind every conversation thread in the app and is now easily accessed from wherever you are. You can take a photo first and choose the people to send it to later, a key feature of Snapchat that's helped it to become the go-to app for sharing spontaneous moments.
Facebook Messenger s camera overhaul 15/12/2016
Facebook Messenger's camera overhaul 15/12/2016
Facebook
Filters and effects can be overlaid on photos after they've been shot. You can use 3D masks to give yourself a new hat, cover the screen with falling snow or wear some antlers and become a reindeer. Facebook has added "thousands" of stickers, frames, masks and effects to let you personalise every image and make no two photos quite the same.
Text has also been given some attention. A new palette icon by the shutter button lets you access a blank canvas where you can add text, art and stickers, letting you create a message with distinctive visual impact. Facebook said the features will make conversations more enjoyable and engaging by allowing for simpler sharing of photos.
"Today we are excited to launch a brand new, faster and easier-to-use camera with art and special effects to help make your conversations better than ever," said Facebook. "Rolling out globally over the coming days, we hope you'll be as happy as we are with the new experience in your favorite messaging app."
The new Messenger features represent Facebook's latest push to tap into Snapchat's vast audience and appeal. In recent months, Facebook has created an almost complete Snapchat Stories clone in Instagram Stories, begun testing a version of Snapchat inside WhatsApp and added Snapchat-style features to the primary Facebook app.
Facebook Messenger s camera overhaul 15/12/2016
Facebook Messenger's camera overhaul 15/12/2016
Facebook
By gradually turning its existing services into Snapchat, Facebook can end up with a rounded portfolio of apps that offer everything Snapchat does with more on top. This could slow the stream of users who are migrating away from established services towards the newer upstart.
Facebook Messenger is already one of the biggest apps in the world, boasting over one billion users, but Facebook wants it to keep gaining momentum. That's what the camera overhaul is intended to do. It'll give users something new to talk about and try out while simplifying the overall Messenger experience.
"We’ve seen that the way people are messaging is becoming much more visual. In fact, over 2.5 billion emojis, photos, stickers and videos are sent every day on Messenger," said Facebook. "In some ways the camera is now replacing the keyboard. As more people use Messenger in their everyday lives, we wanted to make it faster, simpler and more fun to send photos and videos — so we built the new Messenger camera."
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