Surprising ways to enhance your chats.
If you thought the only thing you could do on Facebook Messenger was send a friend a quick message with a few emojis peppered throughout, you’ve been missing out. The service has an array of features that not only make chatting more fun, but sometimes even more meaningful and effective. Here, some of our favorites.
Start a Group Video Chat
Messenger isn’t just for exchanging text messages. Now you can start a group video call with as many as 50 people. You can see up to six people on your device at a time, but don't worry if your group is larger: Once more than half a dozen people are in the group, the person who is speaking the most will be shown on the screen to all participants at that time. If you'd rather listen in rather than be on camera, just tap the microphone icon. For those on screen, you can add funny 3D masks—a feature that is currently on iPhones and coming soon to Androids. To start a group video chat, you will need the latest version of Messenger. You can either switch an existing group conversation to a video chat or create a new one by tapping the video icon on the upper right of the screen and everyone in the group will be notified. Each person can enter the group chat when they are ready by tapping the "Join" button (and come and go as they please).
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Add Special Effects
Facebook Messenger just launched a new camera feature that allows you to add a variety of frames, 3D masks, stickers, and other special effects to the photos you send through messages. You can transform a selfie into a reindeer, add falling snow to a scenic shot, and more.
Access Chat Without Going to Facebook
You don’t have to open the Messenger app or go to Facebook.com to access the chat functionality. On any web browser, simply type messenger.com or go to your own personal dashboard by navigating to m.me/yourprofilename. (Real Simple, for example, is at m.me/realsimple.)
Owe your friend money for a ride you shared to the airport? Tap the money icon to securely send or request funds from the person you’re chatting with.
If the person you’re chatting with shares an address with you, you can click on it to bring up transportation options, including Uber and Lyft.
Change the Colors
This one is more fun than functional, but you can easily change the colors of your chat bubbles by clicking on the wheel (options) in the top right corner of your chat window.
Whether you want to send your mom a high-resolution copy of a family photo or you need to share an itinerary for an upcoming getaway with your friends, it’s easy to share files in any chat window. Simply click the wheel (options) and select “add files.”
Play a Game
Challenge a friend to a game of Pac-Man, Words With Friends, trivia, or another interactive game by clicking on the remote control in the bottom right corner of the chat window.
Love your Bitmoji? In the messenger app, click the three little dots on the bottom right of your chat window to integrate a variety of popular applications (Dropbox, Giphy, Tumblr, Spotify, and more).
Share Your Location
Clicking those three little dots at the bottom of your chat window will also give you the option to easily share your location with whomever you’re chatting with. (Note: You must have location services enabled on your phone.)