Just ahead of the holiday break, Facebook has added three new camera tools to Messenger, giving users more options to help share their festive celebrations.
First off, they're adding the Boomerang mode to Messenger - the looping video format that's already available on Instagram and in Facebook's main app.
When you need an instant replay, use the new Boomerang feature in the Messenger camera to capture any moment on repeat ???? pic.twitter.com/KA3OA2EAlk— Messenger (@messenger) December 17, 2018
No doubt you're already familiar with the Boomerang process - you take a short video clip and it replays over and over, adding a new element to the content.
Messenger is also now getting a new Selfie mode, which will automatically blur the image background to put more focus on your face.
Introducing Selfie Mode in the Messenger camera... perfect lighting ✅ perfect angle ✅ perfect moment ✅ pic.twitter.com/2SPpoWsDck— Messenger (@messenger) December 17, 2018
And lastly, Facebook's also adding a new AR element to Messenger photos, with stickers that you can overlay onto real-world scenes.
Time to up your sticker game. You can now add animated and interactive stickers powered by AR in Messenger! pic.twitter.com/rUhsePh1Pl— Messenger (@messenger) December 17, 2018
As you can see in the second image, there's now a new camera icon next to selected stickers which enables you to place them over an image captured via your camera, extending your sharing options.
As noted by The Verge, the new additions will mean that there are now five different camera modes within Facebook Messenger. While Messenger has continued to grow this year (now at 1.3b users), Facebook had had trouble convincing users to see the app as more than just a basic messaging tool, with Messenger Bots, games and other features failing to take-off as Facebook would have hoped - and stifling the company's plans for increased monetization through the app.
In that sense, these new tools could be another, subtle way to broaden users' perspective as to what's possible through the app - the more Facebook can encourage expanded user behavior, beyond an SMS replacement, the more it can showcase new ways in which messaging itself can be used in additional applications.
There's still a way to go on that front, but with Facebook running out of space to show ads in its main app, it needs to expand its monetization options, and learn how to convert the growth of private messaging into a bigger business opportunity.
The new Messenger camera modes will be rolling out to all users from this week.