Chatting with friends and family just got a whole lot easier on Facebook’s Messenger now that a number of new features have been included on the platform.
Group video calls, news updates via bots, reactions, tags, and frames are among some of the latest features that Messenger has added.
And did you know you can use Messenger without a Facebook account? You just sign up with a phone number.
Here are some tips and tricks to make the most of the new features, bots, games and more.
Group video calls to keep in touch
Make video calls with groups of friends and family to speak to everyone in real-time. Start a group conversation with the people you want to video call and select the video camera on the top right corner. You’ll be able to see and talk to people as they join in.
A good way to make video calls even more fun is by choosing from the number of different frames that you can add in.
New home screen
Messenger has launched a new look for its home screen to make it easier and faster to find what you want. Now you can find new tabs for Messages, see who is active and quickly identify your favourite Groups.
The new bottom bar also has tabs for Home, Calls, the Camera button, People and Games. When you have new activity in one of the sections or tabs, you’ll see a red dot letting you know to tap on the section or tab to check out the latest. For example, if you have a new, unseen message, you’ll see a red dot next to Home along the bottom. Or, if you have a missed call, you’ll see a red dot at the top next to Calls.
React to what you’re reading
Press and hold the message you want to react to and then choose from the selection of emojis, including love, smile, wow, sad, angry and yes. You’ll also be able to see how others have reacted to messages.
Mention friends in group conversations to ensure they read your messages
Now it’s easier than ever to get people’s attention in group conversation, which is ideal to directly notify that one friend who takes a while to respond. To mention someone, simply type “@“, followed by the first few letters of the name of the person you want to notify and select them from the list. This way, people get a notification letting them know they’ve been mentioned.
From old school classics to group challenges and all-time favourite, Messenger has up to 50 game titles available to ensure you never get bored and always have something to do either at home or on-the-go, including new additions like Words with Friends, one of the most popular apps of all time is now on Messenger, and 8Ball Pool.
Feeling nostalgic? Select from throwback games such Snake, PacMan or even Space Invaders
For all those card games lovers, Messenger brings a variety of options from everyone’s favourite Blackjack to Gin Rummy andSolitaire
Up for a challenge? Play Sudoku or score a strike on bowling or prepare a burger on Cooking Mama or try out your Batman skills on Bat Climb
Check out the gameplay features such as turn-based games to add leaderboards and create tournaments on the platform.
5,000 different frames and stickers are available through the camera.
Messenger allows you to choose from more than 5,000 frames, effects and stickers to customise photos and videos. Messenger regularly updates the camera with new art and recently introduced the Australia Day, St Patrick Day and Easter effects.
You can use Messenger without a Facebook account! Sign up with just a phone number.
Messenger (and all of its features, including photos, videos, group chats, voice and video calling, stickers, etc.) are available to everyone with a phone number – even if you don’t have a Facebook account. All you have to do is download Messenger. On the welcome screen, you will see an option that says “Not on Facebook?” From there, you can sign up with your name, phone number and a photo.
Robyn Foyster is an award-winning journalist and former Editor-In-Chief of The Australian Women's Weekly. She is also the owner and publisher of Women Love Tech, Game Changers and The Carousel. Robyn is the owner and founder of a tech business called AR tech, where she helped create the world's first AR community shopping app called Sweep and her team produced the 2018 Vivid app. She is a speaker and a judge of the Telstra Business Awards and Mumbrella Awards. Robyn is passionate about supporting women in STEM.