Messenger for iPhone Gains AR Effects, Games for Group Interactions

Hot on the heels of a rumored rebrand, Facebook Messenger is getting a new feature that enables Augmented Reality (AR) filters on video calls as well as on Messenger Rooms.

Right from launch, 70+ AR effects are going to be available for group video interactions, including a game to build a virtual burger. There’s another fun effect where a virtual orange cat photobombs the call. The features resemble what’s available on rival video calling platforms including Snap, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams. The new filters can be accessed via the smiley icon in a group video call to pick Group Effects.

These AR filters could soon make their way to Instagram as well. Moreover, developers will be given the freedom to add more AR effects and filters using Facebook’s Spark AR Multipeer API from October-end. This could also signify the transition to a more Metaverse-focused experience that the social media giant is building gradually.

Alongside the shared AR experiences, other minor feature improvements are coming too. Word Effects will allow iOS users to trigger an animation in Messenger chats when a specific phrase is used. For instance, sending a “Happy Birthday!” phrase could trigger party popper emojis to fly around the screen. The feature will eventually make its way to Android too. There’s also a new “Soundmojis” feature, chat themes, and Halloween art for Messenger chats and Instagram DMs.

Our Take:

Facebook’s objective of transitioning from a social media company to a metaverse won’t be an overnight switch. It will gradually pan out in the form of subtle changes to its existing platforms and possibly the introduction of new ones. The company’s rumored rebranding is also expected to catalyze this transition. That said, the new Messenger AR filters are certainly a baby step towards the Metaverse.

[Via Facebook]