Facebook updates Messenger with instant video sending and 'Big Likes'Amid the constantly evolving landscape that is mobile messaging, Facebook on Thursday added two new features —video messaging and bigger "thumbs ups" —to its Messenger iOS app to help it stand apart from the crowd.
The biggest addition to Facebook Messenger version 6.0 is an option to film and send in-line video messages to friends with a "tap-and-hold" gesture.
Prior to today's update, Messenger limited users to sending in-app pictures and pre-recorded videos stored in the iOS Camera Roll, but now tapping and holding on the camera icon allows for on-the-fly recording. Videos are restricted to 15 seconds, which is also the limit for Instagram videos.
In practice, the feature defaults to the front-facing camera for a 15-second selfie, adding yet another layer to users' messaging options.
Apple's forthcoming iOS 8 mobile operating system will feature a similar capability that supports recording of both video and audio clips in the first-party Messages app. Media can be recorded and sent to friends directly from the message screen without having to leave the app via a tap-and-hold UI and a new microphone icon.
The second feature packed into Messenger is "Big Likes," which basically plops in a huge "thumbs up" when you "really, really like something." More of a tweak than a new addition, Big Likes offers a more granular way for users to express their feelings.
Facebook Messenger is available as a free 35.4MB download from the App Store.