First off, there’s a new AR effect, created in partnership with beauty influencer Ashley Strong, which adds ‘sparkles and shiny snowflakes that appear from your eyes when you blink’.
“With this effect, you can magically freeze the screen – just open your mouth for a cold breath to start to appear and freeze the screen.”
Not entirely sure if Christmas or Ice King from Game of Thrones, but it’s a new feature either way.
Messenger’s also got some new word effects – now, when you wish people a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa, you can also spark a flood of related emojis up the screen to give your messaging an extra themed kick.
Meta also notes that you can ‘plan some seriously lit end-of-year parties’ with its new New Year’s Eve chat theme for Messenger and Instagram DMs, which also includes word effects.
I don’t really like Meta’s attempts at cool lingo in their announcements, which may be a part of its broader plan to re-connect with the youth. But yes, lit parties, via Messenger. Rock on.
There are also new soundmojis, Meta’s attempt to bring another, unique dimension to emoji usage.
“Visit your Messenger expressions tray, select the loudspeaker icon, and find the present and Christmas tree emojis for a special holiday song surprise!”
While Meta’s also taking the opportunity to encourage more funds exchange activity within messaging, with new, themed funds transfer visuals when sending money in the app.
The more people moving their money in Meta’s apps, the easier it will be for Meta to then encourage eCommerce activity, so while this is a lesser element in the broader announcement here, it may be the most impactful in terms of Meta’s strategic plans.
In addition to this, Meta has also added a range of new holiday elements to Messenger Kids, including an option to chat with Santa (with the messages going to the parents), new holiday games and themed AR effects.
I mean, it’s getting pretty close to the wire if you wanted to use the Santa chat feature as a means to find out what your child really wants this Christmas, but it could be another way to get kids excited about the holiday – which still feels like it’s sprung up way too early this time around.
Some of these are fun, and will add an extra element to your holiday messages, some are a bit meh – but either way, they provide more options to facilitate engagement and interaction via message for the season.
You can check out the new features in the latest version of the Messenger app.