Facebook has announced that Messenger Day - their Snapchat-clone within Messenger - is now available to all users globally, giving people another way to tell their social story.
Facebook first started testing Messenger Day back in October, with users in Poland and Australia given access. Those trials have obviously shown promise, as Facebook is now expanding the option. Well, either they showed promise or Facebook is really keen to beat down Snapchat's share price by again underlining that their key features can and will be copied.
The process of using Messenger Day is fairly straight-forward - when you open Messenger, you can either tap on the shutter circle in the middle of the bottom function bar or drag down to access the Messenger camera.
One you take a picture, you can add your graphics and overlays to it - and an interesting note, many of the enhancement tools available within Messenger are designed to prompt further engagement, as opposed to being enhancements within themselves. For example, there are things like 'Lets go to the movies' or 'Let's go for a run' and expressions of how you feel.
Once you've finished your image, you can either send it to a specific person, or group of people, or you can instead add it to 'My Day', where it will sit at the top of your friends' Messenger home screens with other Messenger Day stories for 24 hours. Anything else you capture or create via your Messenger camera, you can also add to your Day - exactly like Snapchat Stories.
You can also add to your Day story from any conversation you're having in Messenger - after you send a photo or video, you'll see the option to "add to your day."
Facebook's also underlines that users maintain complete control over who sees their Messenger Day content:
"It's up to you if you want to share your day with everyone you talk to in Messenger or just your closest friends and family. You can customize how you share by tapping the "more" icon and then choosing "Everyone Except" or "Custom". If you share something to your day that you decide you want to take down, just tap the image at the top of your inbox, then tap the three dots at the bottom right hand corner of your image, and then select "Delete."
Basically, if you've used Snapchat or Instagram Stories you'll easily be able to adapt to Messenger Day. The question now is do you want to?
With all the Stories options and tools now available, through Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, there's only so many stories you can tell. Do we really need another version with Messenger?
Of course, there are unique users to every platform - Messenger has more than a billion monthly active users, as opposed to Instagram's 600 million (and Snapchat's 158 million per day), so there's clear gaps in those audiences, people who will be more aligned to one platform or the other. But with Facebook now also experimenting with a new stories clone within Facebook-proper too, are we getting too many stories options? Can they all see similarly high adoption rates as Instagram has with Stories?
In some respects, this probably doesn't matter - Facebook's keen to stamp out Snapchat wherever they can, and if they can provide similar tools on a large scale, particularly in areas where Snapchat has yet to gain traction, they'll do it. This will become even more relevant if and when Facebook releases newer image enhancing options and tools which are better than what Snapchat has on offer.
For example, Snapchat's face-transforming Lenses are an amazing social innovation, and one of the most popular functions on the app. But Facebook's already working on the next level of Lenses, including their style transfer image enhancements, and reactive filters which respond to additional types of movement.
If Facebook were to start releasing new tools along these lines, and add them to Instagram Stories, and now Messenger Day, that would put these improved functions in the hands of a huge collective audience, significantly larger than Snapchat's own. If they become the next big thing - the new cool tool that you need to tell your friends about - you can imagine that Snapchat's relevance will take a big hit.
The timing of the launch also serves as another reminder to Snap Inc.'s new shareholders that Facebook's not going to let up any times soon. All of Snapchat's functions can be duplicated and improved upon - anything Snapchat can do, Facebook can do better. 'Better', of course, is subjective, but Facebook is clearly on a path to reducing Snapchat's influence.
Will Snapchat respond with new tools, or look to get out of Facebook's way by innovating in other areas? We'll have to wait and see.