Facebook Messenger Tricks 2018

Facebook Wants To Fix One More Thing: Messenger

Ever since Facebook turned Messenger into a standalone app a few years ago, the company started piling up new feature after new feature on top of the basic tricks you’d expect from a mobile chat app. Some of those improvements are welcomed additions, including video chat support and rich emoji experiences. Others, aren’t that great, especially the ad spam that you may have noticed recently.

Facebook now thinks that Messenger is sort of broken too, and just promised it’ll fix it soon. That’s the second thing Facebook wants to fix after, well, Facebook.

In a lengthy post, Facebook’s David Marcus explained what’s coming to the chat app this year.

The best thing you can expect from Messenger this year is less clutter. Hopefully, Facebook will be able to deliver it, that is:

Over the last two years, we built a lot of capabilities to find the features that continue to set us apart. A lot of them have found their product market fit; some haven’t. While we raced to build these new features, the app became too cluttered. Expect to see us invest in massively simplifying and streamlining Messenger this year.

Facebook didn’t quite explain what’s going away, but it did highlight other Messenger improvements — let’s hope that doesn’t mean more bloatware.

One of the major concerns for Facebook represents real-time communications, which may include Safety Check prompts delivered via Messenger rather than Facebook:

No one wants to miss a special moment, but real-time communication is what connects us in times of crisis too… and we, unfortunately, saw more than our share of that last year.

Facebook also wants users to do more together, hinting that group chats will be improved both when it comes to online and offline experiences:

There are many ways we can make groups better. Identity is built in — it’s all about people, not phone numbers. Blazing fast ways to share photos and videos — incidentally our photo quality is better than ever (4k!) — plus ways to upgrade group chat into live video group chat.

The upcoming Messenger experience is also supposed to be more visual than ever, whether it’s personal chats, business conversations, or the recently announced Messenger Kids:

Not only will you see more from Messenger in visual messaging this year, but this is where the industry is heading, and we won’t be looking back.

Facebook also plans to improve the way it makes money from Messenger, and the company announced new business-related initiatives. One of them concerns improving customer service and customer care experiences through Messenger:

Calling a business ranks pretty high up on the list of things we don’t want to do on any given day. But as messaging becomes more popular as an additional channel for immediate, personal customer service, the expectations and experiences have started to meet in the middle — introducing messaging as a true Customer Care channel.

We’ll just have to wait and see if Facebook can turn the overall Messenger experience into the “easiest and most delightful way for people to spend time together in happy and harder times.” It’s unclear when these new Facebook Messenger features will be rolled out, however, so we’ll have to wait for future announcements from Facebook.

10 Hidden Tricks To Get The Most Out Of Facebook Messenger

On Thursday, Facebook announced there are more than 800 million monthly active users on Messenger. While we can assume they’re all at least chatting with each other, there’s a whole lot more you can do in the app beyond instant messaging.

Over the last year, Messenger has shown it wants to be a one-stop shop for all your mobile needs — from sending GIFs to requesting an Uber. With so many updates, you may have missed some of the app’s best new features.

From paying friends to customizing your message threads, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite hidden tricks that will help you get the most out of Messenger.

Image: Mashable Composite, Redd Angelo

1. There’s a standalone website for Messenger

Unlike having two different mobile apps, the two different websites make more sense. For example, you can keep chatting with your friends at work without the distraction of your news feed. The interface is minimal and clean — similar to the app but expanded. For each conversation, there’s a sidebar where you can mute notifications for that person, access a call or video chat and see photos you’ve shared with each other.

2. You don’t need Facebook to use Messenger

Anyone with a phone number can access Messenger and its features, even if you don’t have a Facebook account. All you have to do is download the app, and you can select “Not on Facebook?” You can sign up from there.

3. Request an Uber

You can do away with your Uber app, and call a car through Messenger. From within a conversation, select the “More” icon indicated by three little dots and tap “Transportation.” You can log in and request an Uber from there. Like the Uber app, you’ll receive updates on your driver’s status, notify friends, track the ride and pay for it.

4. Pin a group conversation for easy access

If you chat with the same group of people all the time, you can pin the conversation so you don’t have to scroll through to find it. Tap the Groups button at the bottom of the app, and you’ll see a Pin button in the top left corner. You can select the conversation you want to add, and you can assign a name to it. You can also add a photo as the group avatar by tapping on the camera button.

5. Mute notifications

You can silence specific conversations by tapping the name at the top of the message. In the drop-down screen of options, tap Notifications and select the period of time you want to mute it — like fifteen minutes, one hour, eight hours, 24 hours or indefinitely until you turn notifications back on. You can also turn off notifications entirely.

6. Make a payment

There are a few popular apps that let you pay your friends without any cash, but that means downloading yet another app. If you don’t have anymore room on your phone for Venmo, Messenger is an alternative, in case you don’t plan on deleting the app anytime soon.

7. Share photos instantly with facial recognition

Messenger’s Photo Magic feature uses facial recognition to make it easier to send photos to your friends. When the feature is on, the app will notify you to share photos when it detects a new picture with a friend in your camera roll. To enable it, click the settings gear icon on the bottom right, select Photos & Media and then Photo Magic, and switch the toggle on.

8. Send your location

Similar to dropping a pin in Apple Maps, you can send your location — or any location — in a message. Select a conversation, tap the More icon, click location, then you can search a place and send it.

9. Send GIFs

Tap More at the bottom of a conversation screen, and you’ll see a list of different apps you can install. You’ll see GIPHY as one option, and you can tap the INSTALL button, which will bring you to the App Store; download it as you normally would. Once installed, you can select the GIF icon at the bottom of a conversation to search and send GIFs directly in Messenger.

10. Customize your message threads with emoji

Change up your conversations with different people by changing the way the threads look. When you’re in a conversation, hit your friend’s name at the top of the screen, and you’ll see options for nicknames, color and emoji. The color will change the outline of icons as well as the chat bubbles.

BONUS: Facebook has become the app most can’t live without (minus Messenger)

IPhone Hacks, Facebook Trackers And More: Tech Q&A

File photo: An illustration picture shows a woman looking at the Facebook website on a computer in Munich February 2, 2012. (REUTERS/Michael Dalder)

Amazon Prime for Less

Q: I love Amazon Prime, but it’s so expensive! Can I get it cheaper?

A: There are many ways to get discounts on Amazon Prime, and you may even use Prime (or get a year’s subscription) for free. This is particularly great news for students and customers who want to open a credit line, but if you’re clever, you can talk a relative into splitting the cost or even use the trial period to your advantage. Click here for 10 ways to get Amazon Prime for less.

Big-Time Contests

Q: I won a trip to Tahiti from your show and it was amazing! Thank you! What other contests are good to enter? I’m feeling lucky!

A: First off, congratulations again! I hope the roulette wheel keeps spinning in your favor, and yes, there are lots of other contests you might enjoy. Keep in mind, the internet is teeming with scams, and every time you enter a contest, you should read the fine print. Many people are surprised when they start receiving a flood of unwelcome emails from companies they don’t really know; getting your information is usually the reason that online contests are set up in the first place. Click here for the best sites to win big prizes.

iPhone Hacks

Q: You’ve used an iPhone for years. What are some of your best tricks?

A: I do have an iPhone, and like most owners, I love to tinker with its functions. Every smart phone has its array of special tools, many of which are hidden in plain sight and you may not even discover for months on end. Even something as simple as the camera’s timer, which you can set for group photos, still takes friends by surprise. And there is so much more. Click here for my seven favorite iPhone tricks.

Ditch Facebook Trackers

Q: I’m so very tired of Facebook’s shenanigans. Can I stop them from tracking me where I go on the web?

A: I will be the first to say that the glory days of Facebook are over. So many millions of people relied on social media that they used to accept this cyber-stalking in stride. But then the public learned about Cambridge Analytica and the way the Messenger app listens to our conversations, and we saw Mark Zuckerberg testifying in Washington. With so much suspicion swirling around the tech giant, it’s no wonder that targeted advertising no longer feels like an innocent pest. Before, getting Facebook off your back felt freeing; now, it feels is vital to our personal security. The safest strategy, of course, is to simply abandon the service altogether and delete all of your data. But there are also less drastic ways to be left alone. Click here to keep Facebook from tracking you on the web.

Double Up on Phone Numbers

Q: I have one cell phone for personal and another one for business. Can I have two phone numbers ring on one phone?

A: Broadly speaking, I think the average consumer uses too many types of communication on a regular basis. We sign up for Skype, WhatsApp, Slack, InMail, and a dozen other services, and then we have to check them individually all day long. There is nothing wrong with the services themselves; each is very handy in a unique way. The more you can consolidate your messenger services, the less stressed you’ll be. The same goes for cell phones, especially if you have to carry more than one. Most of us make the mistake of texting the wrong person from time to time, and our confusion grows with every phone we have to keep track of. Luckily, there’s a pretty simple solution. Click here for apps that give your phone a second number.

What questions do you have?

Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

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Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.