Video calling is, as the last 18 months have shown, an essential way to keep in touch in today’s world. So obviously it would make sense for one of the current largest social media companies to continue building on this tool.
Facebook has announced that there will be new augmented reality (AR) additions to video calling, which will soon arrive on Instagram as well. Is this all part of the plan to build the metaverse? Perhaps.
Called “Group Effects,” the new feature aims to make AR Filters a shared experience and enable “a more fun and engaging way to connect with friends and family.” At launch, a library of 70 effects will be made available, ranging from games – stacking a burger with its ingredients – to cute filters, cats entering everyone’s frames, and more.
Users will be able to access it via the smiley face icon in any video call or Messenger Room to open the Effects Bar, where Group Effects can be found.
Image via Facebook Messenger
Apart from this, creators will also be able to create and share their own AR effects via the Spark Multipeer API. One example is the “Blow the Dandelion” effect, created by 3D designer and filter artist Ross Wakefield. Facebook will expand access to this tool at the end of the month.
“For the first time, group effects allow creators to bring their creative ideas into the Messenger video calling experience,” writes Facebook in its blog post. “Until now, many AR effects have been a solo experience or augmented a photo or video for Stories or Reels.” But, as an ancient saying goes, sharing is taking care.
Another addition the company revealed on Wednesday is the suggested word effects, in which a specific phrase sent as a standalone message, such as “congratulations” or “goodnight,” will trigger a cascade of emojis.
Interestingly, the new AR filters will also be introduced in Messenger Rooms, the platform’s video conferencing feature similar to Zoom.
Whether or not its users choose to wear AR effects of extravagant hair colors and face accessories at a business meeting or launch is, presumably, at the individual’s discretion. But honestly, it’s been quite a year, hasn’t it? you do.