Sunday, December 5, 2021

FB Messenger now allows entire group to enjoy AR video effects

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Facebook Messenger has released its “Group Effects” feature that allows everyone attending the virtual meetings on a video call to enjoy an augmented reality experience at the same time.

The rolled out feature is now available across Messenger video calls as well as Messenger Rooms, a videoconferencing facility like Zoom, and its features can be enjoyed by everyone there. Also, they are coming soon to Instagram as well, the company says.

There are about 70 group effects available at right now, including a game where you can play towards building a virtual burger, while another has a virtual orange cat that photobombs the call.

While the augmented reality effects thing is not a new one for FB Messenger, it is nevertheless a shift from the service’s existing features as they only tend to apply to one participant and not the entire group.

Facebook says developers will be able to build more group effects using its Spark AR API from the end of the month.

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Alongside the shared group AR experiences, Facebook also announced a collection of smaller features coming to its chat services this month. New “word effects” is one such feature which allows iOS Messenger users (and eventually Android users) to trigger an animation in a chat when a specific phrase is used. The Verge reported this.

For example, in August the company showed how messaging the phrase “Happy Birthday!” could be set to trigger the party popper emoji to fly up the screen.

There are also new “Soundmojis” to tie in with No Time to Die, as well as chat themes and Halloween artwork for Messenger chats and Instagram DMs.

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