Facebook Messenger has swiftly become the world's #1 messaging app with more than 1.3 billion monthly active users. While you probably know how to make video calls and send animated GIFs, the app has a bunch of additional features and functionality beneath the hood. Here are 11 tools you might not know about - and how to use them.
- Video chat with up to 50 people: Most people use video chat for one-on-one conversations, but it's actually possible to have up to 50 people interacting simultaneously, with everyone having access to the filters, masks, reactions and other video features available on Messenger. Simply select the group chat you want to start video chatting with, then tap the video icon in the top right hand side of the screen to get started.
- Conduct polls: You can now poll friends in group conversations which is an easy way to decide on movies and restaurants. In a group conversation, ask a question and 'Start Poll' will pop up as an option. Tap on 'Start poll' and then you can edit the options before sharing the poll with the group.
- Send maps: Trying to find your friends in the city can be hard. You can choose to send a map with your location in Messenger so friends know where to meet you. In a conversation, tap the plus sign, then tap the Location icon,. You can choose to “Share for One Hour” or “Share Until I’ve Arrived”. Or if you want to share a specific place like a restaurant, tap the pin in the top right of the screen and search for the location you would like to share.
- AR Games: Last month, Facebook launched its first multiplayer augmented reality (AR) video games on Messenger. To get started, open an existing conversation or find the person or group of people you’d like to chat with and tap the video icon on the upper right corner of the screen. Then simply tap the star button and select one of the AR games – the person or group you are video chatting with will get a notification indicating you'd like to play.
- AR shopping: In addition to gaming, Messenger is using its AR tech to enhance online shopping. For example, you can try on lipstick virtually prior to purchasing or get "hands on" with a new phone model through the Messenger app. Participating brands currently include Sephora, Nike and ASUS - to give it a try, simply type in these brands in the search bar, tap on the bot and then click ‘Get Started’.
- Interact with bots: TripAdvisor and Domain are currently at the forefront of Facebook Messenger's bot technology. You can use their bots to seamlessly book a trip or to find out information about a new home. Simple type 'TripAdvisor' or 'Domain' into the search bar and click 'Get Started'.
- Send video messages: It's possible to send 15 second videos on Messenger. You can take the short video by pushing down the shutter circle for 15 seconds or less when inside a conversation.
- Create group playlists on Spotify: If you have a Spotify account, you can discover and share 30-second song clips in your chats with friends within your Messenger chat. You can also create group playlists with your friends. You can set this up by tapping on the + icon and tapping on Spotify under Extensions.
- Play games on the go: Messenger's video game offerings have exploded in recent months with plenty of retro classics to choose from including From Pac-Man, Snake and Tetris. If you’re playing solo, tap the Games tab on the bottom of your screen to get started. If you're playing with friends, tap the plus sign in a group chat, then tap the Games icon and select the game you would like to challenge your friends to.
- Choose and book restaurants: Not sure where to dine out? Simply open the blue plus symbol and then the ‘Open Table’ bot where you can collaboratively search and make reservations for restaurants without leaving the Messenger chat.
- Use Messenger without Facebook: If you don't have Facebook and have no intention of joining, you can still interact with your friends on Messenger - you can download it without a Facebook account.
Got any Facebook Messenger tips of your own? Feel free to share in the comments!