Facebook Starts Testing Snapchat-Like Camera With Filters & Stickers In Brazil And Canada

Recently, we had reported how Twitter unveiled ‘Stickers’ feature that users can use to add to their pictures in order to make them more fun, engaging, and definitely more like Snapchat.

Now, it is heard that the social media giant is testing a new version of Facebook app that opens to a camera, which encourages its users not only to capture more photos, videos and share content but also decorate them with filters and stickers, similar to Snapchat’s app. This new addition comes on the heels of the social media giant announcing “Stories” format for its photo-sharing app Instagram that emulates Snapchat’s popular feature.

“People are increasingly sharing via videos and photos — on Facebook and beyond. It’s our job to create experiences that help people create and share in the ways they want,” the company was quoted as saying.

For the first time, the technology from Belarusian startup MSQRD, a video effects app that the social media giant acquired earlier this year to “continue enhancing the Facebook video experience” was used to carry out the test by participants covering the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and Canada starting last Friday. The new Facebook app greets users with a message, “Open your camera to play with creative photo effects.”

The new feature sports the first official integration of Facebook’s acquisition MSQRD’s animated selfie filters, which are similar to Snapchat’s selfie Lenses. Users can swipe to apply different Olympics face paint like Brazilian flags and “Go Canada!” using MSQRD’s object recognition technology. Similar to Snapchat’s geofilters, users can also add static graphic overlay filters like “Team Canada” to photos and videos they shoot or upload.

Sachin Monga, Facebook product manager, who will be testing the app in Canada, said that posting photos and videos using the app has been “super cumbersome” in the past.

“Something as simple as posting a picture of the Canadian flag has been a multi-step process. You’d have to go to Google Images, find and download a stock photo of the Canadian flag, come back to Facebook, and in between maybe go to Photoshop or something to add [an effect],” he said. “The test is designed to get people sharing more with few taps,” he added.

The Facebook flagship app opens to the News Feed as usual but in the field that asks “what’s on your mind?”, users will now see an open camera, according to the report. Tap it to open the camera in full screen mode and from there a user can take a picture or record a short video clip.

The users can use one of MSQRD’s augmented reality filters to take a more creative selfie, if they are using the front-facing camera, the report explained.

The new Facebook version is only available for iOS, Android in Canada and only iOS in Brazil. While Facebook is beta testing the feature for now, it is expected that the social media giant will roll out the feature for users across the world anytime soon.

“We’re starting small,” Monga said. “But the hope is eventually we can bring this really cool experience to people around the world — most of whom have never had the ability to experience the delight of opening up their phone and having it transform into this magical AR experience.”