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facebook messenger

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Facebook adds a group payments feature to Messenger

In 2015, Facebook launched the ability to do person-to-person transactions in Messenger, but it was limited to two people at a time. It's a neat feature, especially if you or your friends don't want to use something like PayPal, but it's now expanding to group conversations starting today.

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Over a year later, Facebook's M assistant finally makes its way into Messenger

Earlier today Facebook launched their new M assistant service in Messenger on iOS and Android for the US (with other countries to come). Much like Google Assistant in Allo it's meant to drop in at convenient points in a conversation to give you shortcuts and tools to simplify things.

Facebook announced M well over a year ago, jumping a bit late on the bandwagon of personal assistants, but allegedly theirs is at least partially driven or overseen by real living human beings, which sets it apart from the others in no small way. If they manage to leverage enough other modern tech buzzwords like AI, machine learning, and perhaps some synergy for flavor, it may even be of some use.

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Facebook adds Live Location feature to Messenger

Sharing your location with friends and family can be extremely helpful in some situations. Google Maps started rolling out location sharing a few days ago, and now Facebook has added a similar feature to Facebook Messenger.

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Facebook introduces the stories-like Messenger Day

Facebook is continually adding features to its Messenger platform, which is great for the many who use it. This time around brings us stories... er, I mean Messenger Days, which are "temporary" photos or videos that your friends can see and reply to. They disappear after twenty-four hours, or you can delete them before then if you so choose.

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Facebook Messenger can insert GIFs from Google's Gboard

Inserting GIFs in Facebook Messenger has been available for over a year now, after it began as a trial in 2015. A GIF button shows up in the text entry box, next to the picture, emoji, and voice message options, and lets you search for the perfect animated reaction to send to your friends or family. But it looks like Messenger only searches one repository for GIFs, which is often (always?) Tenor.

If you want to check more sources for GIFs, you either have to download a separate app or you can use Google's keyboard Gboard. Since its release, Gboard has offered a GIF search option, but developers had to specifically enable it in their own apps.

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Facebook starts testing Sponsored ads in Messenger

Facebook Messenger is used by a lot of brands and businesses to communicate with their users, customers, or fans. According to Facebook, 1 billion messages are sent on the platform each month between businesses and users. So it only makes sense that Facebook wants to monetize that and businesses want to take advantage of it to reach more users with special offers or product ads. And that's what Facebook is starting to do.

In the coming weeks, a test group of people in Thailand and Australia will start seeing ads in their Facebook Messenger app. These will show up on the Messenger home screen below recent conversations, as is the case with birthday notifications or the list of currently active users.

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Group video chats now rolling out to Facebook Messenger

Facebook has made a few long-awaited additions to Messenger lately, including that new Snapchat-like camera interface. Well, there's one more big change coming in 2016—group video chat. This feature it rolling out to Android and iOS starting this very day. You'll have to forgive the iPhone screens, that's all Facebook has provided. It should look similar on Android.

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Facebook announces global rollout of new 'native camera' for Messenger

Users of Facebook Messenger have been seeing a new camera tool pop up in recent weeks, but it wasn't consistent or widely available. Now, Facebook is rolling this feature out to everyone in Messenger. The so-called native camera is easier to access and it has a ton of effects and filters. I'm told by some young people that it's much more like Snapchat now.

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Facebook finally figures out how to enable pasting in Messenger's Chat Heads

Facebook Messenger's Chat Heads changed how we interact with notifications and messages, spawning several similar apps such as Brave Browser (né LinkBubble) or Floating Touch, among others. However, Chat Heads have always had one disadvantage in that you cannot paste things into the text entry field. Not anymore, as Facebook has now fixed this.

It might seem like a very simple thing, but that's kind of why it's so interesting: it's so simple that it seems unbelievable that up until now chat heads haven't had the ability to paste. Chat Heads have been around for about 3 years, so either it's not been a priority for the Messenger team, or it's just found how to enable it.

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Facebook tests a data saver option in Messenger

Data savers are becoming something of a trend, with Google recently adding one to Android and Facebook following with the main Facebook app. The company obviously liked the idea, because it seems it's testing a data saving feature for Messenger as well, which should reduce the amount of data the app consumes.

Data saver, which can be found in the app's settings area, reduces the amount of data used when looking at pictures of videos that have been sent to you. It does this by enabling click-to-download on said items, instead of automatically downloading when they are received. This only occurs when using cellular data; if the device is connected to a WiFi network, the app will continue to download pictures and videos when they are received.

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