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Facebook Messenger debuts 'Photo Magic' feature, festive animations for holiday fun

Derek Walter | Dec. 21, 2015
Messenger will attempt to recognize the people in a picture you want to share and suggest who to send it to.

messenger holiday
Credit: Facebook

Facebook’s Messenger app wants to help you pick out who to share your photos with.

When using either the iPhone or Android version of Facebook’s stand-alone messaging app, the social network will try to determine who is pictured in the photo that you want to share, in order to make it faster to send it to the right people. This way you’ll automatically have a group thread available next time you want to send your friends a picture from your weekend trip.

photo magic 
Facebook has a new cool, but creepy, method to share your photos with the right people. Credit: Facebook

You’ll be prompted to enable the feature next time you fire up Messenger (it looks to be a server-side update). You can decline if it’s not for you, and also go into the settings to opt out of being recognized by others’ pictures.

On the holiday front, you’ll see snowflakes in some of your messages if you reference some sort of wintry delight. On Android, the chat heads will may transform to snow globes or rain down confetti closer to New Year’s Eve. 

facebook snow fall 
Let it snow inside Facebook’s Messenger app. Credit: Facebook

Finally, Messenger has a greater number of customization options for organizing your message groups. You can now assign emoji or nicknames to groups and change the conversation color so it’s easier to keep track of them all. Everyone in the group can change these features though, so keep others in mind when choosing your options.

The impact on you: These changes may give you more incentive to go with Messenger next time you need a cross-platform tool for keeping in touch. Through its tie-in to Facebook, Messenger has become nearly as ubiquitous as SMS when it comes to short messages. Its solid implementation on iOS and Android makes it a surefire way to get in touch with a new contact or a longtime buddy.


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