Facebook Messenger upgraded to support animated GIFs and more sharing options

For the past year, Facebook has been working hard in building its FB Messenger as an independent product with its own dynamics that’s different from the other social media site. Although it took some time to make sense of why people should download a separate application, now almost a billion clients have decided to download the FB Messenger as an alternative communication option.

FB Messenger has definitely undergone major changes this year. Earlier in April, the social media giant added a video call functionality to its mobile messaging client. That means users can now video chat aside from sending messages, emojis, stickers, and making calls right from the standalone Messenger app. This makes the application more appealing to avid fans of messaging services since it works on two of the most popular platforms–Android and iOS.

Just last month, Facebook also offered FB Messenger to users who don’t have an FB account but need to communicate via the service.

By downloading the FB messenger app, clients can already enjoy all the features that are available on Messenger – including photos, videos, group chats, voice and video calling, stickers and more. And all you need is a valid phone number.

Facebook really wants every one of us to use GIFs inside Messenger. The company has recently unleashed a series of GIF apps from third-parties which work inside Messenger — as part of its Messenger platform initiative — but it is now going beyond that with a series of pilots that bring GIFs right into Messenger without those apps.

First off, Facebook is testing a dedicated GIF button which allows users to find easily and send moving images only in two taps. That’s much easier than the current setup, which includes a fair amount of friction since users are required to download and use a dedicated app in addition to Messenger just to share content only.

Facebook Messenger update brings animated Gifs and better sharing features
(Image Credits :Techcrunch)

The new GIF button, which began appearing last week to some of Messenger’s 700 million monthly active users, is more practical. It skims a number of trending GIFs from Giphy and Riffsy — the two companies that are producing dedicated apps for Messenger — and serves them up for easy sharing without the need to leave the Messenger app.

Facebook Messenger update brings animated Gifs and better sharing features
(Screenshot via Mashable)

With the new apps, the downside is, of course, that our selection of GIFs is now more restricted.
Interestingly, once sent, the GIFs include a link to download either GIF for Messenger (Riffsy) or Giphy for Messenger.

Is that prompting an indication towards these GIF apps have been receiving a lukewarm response from Messenger users?

That’s one possible conclusion.

“GIFs have seen success as a rich media format within Messenger,” a company spokesperson told us. “With this feature, we’re testing various ways to make it even easier to send great content — like GIFs — with just a few taps.”

So that could mean that Facebook makes other kinds of content easier to share via Messenger? We shall see in future.

The GIF button is a very obvious way to juice up the use of GIFs — and potential downloads of those GIF apps — and the company is also testing another pilot with an integrated GIF search option.

First spotted by Mashable, this experiment — which is apparently live with a selected number of users in Canada — allowing users to look up into GIFs from Giphy and Riffsy and stickers within the space where they would type messages to friends.

Type in your term, tap the magnifying glass icon and a selection comes up.

These two integrations are being tested at this point, which means there’s no guarantee that either will roll out to all Messenger users or not. That said, they do show that Facebook is very keen to get you sharing more multimedia inside your chat sessions to balance virtual more informal and easy to use.

The U.S. Company isn’t the only one in making a push on GIFs, though. Tumblr launched a GIF search engine and a dedicated GIF site in recent weeks, Twitter (kinda) introduced GIFs last year and made them autoplay this summer, while Hulu, Disney and the folks behind recently sold social app Path are among the many others to have dabbled in GIFs in some form this year alone.


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