Facebook Photo Sharing Just Got SUPER Easy

Photo: Courtesy Facebook.
Facebook Messenger is getting in the holiday spirit by making it easier and more fun to chat with friends. In updates rolling out today, the app now offers greater customization in messaging threads, and makes sharing images with the people in them a one-step process.

First up, Facebook is expanding a feature it calls Photo Magic to all U.S. users — if you don't have it already, you should get it shortly. Photo Magic is a little bit creepy but incredibly convenient. It solves the problem of taking pictures, promising to send them to the pic's subjects, and then never following up.

When you're snapping away during a family dinner or friends-giving, you don't want to stop and actually take two minutes to send everyone what you just took — you want to capture the moment, and hop back into the moment yourself. But if you enable Photo Magic in the Facebook Messenger app, it takes care of that problem for you. Whenever you take a picture (either in the app, or just using your phone's camera app), Photo Magic will identify the people in the image, and give you a popup notification to automatically message them with it. It uses the same facial-recognition technology the Facebook app already does.

The creepy part is that this means Facebook is looking at and analyzing every single photo you take — not just selected images you give it permission to share. However, being able to share snapshots that quickly and easily is certainly a benefit. The solution here is to use Photo Magic judiciously. Turn it on only during events when you need it, then turn it back off again. You can do this in Messenger's settings.

Messenger is also adding some fun customizations. You can now add nicknames to people in conversation threads, and change the theme color of those threads. There are two new sticker packs, Star Wars and Frozen, that you can use, and if you send a snow-related emoji, virtual flakes will fall down your phone screen. Android ChatHead users will also see their ChatHeads transformed into snow globes during the next few weeks, and then that snowfall will turn to confetti for New Year's.

It's almost enough to make us forget about all the other tracking Facebook Messenger used to do in the background.

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