When it comes to photo features on mobile apps, Facebook remains ahead of the pack with the unveiling of a new 360-degree photo and HD video feature in its Messenger app.
In the latest version of the Messenger app, users can choose to snap a 360-degree photo with the panorama function on their phones, or via a third-party app.
However, there is no built-in camera function available in the Messenger update, whereas the Facebook app supports a built-in 360-degree camera for cover pictures.
After the photo is sent, Facebook will convert the photo into an immersive 360-degree experience on mobile, which receivers can scroll through by tapping and dragging their screens, or by tilting their phones.
The function is relatively simple to use and provides a clear, zoomed-up 360-degree view of the surroundings.
Allowing users to use the panorama function on their phones might be a smart move, as they would then be able to take multiple shots and pick the best one to send. However, it would be nice to have the option to quickly shoot someone a picture straight from the Messenger app itself.
This might come in exceptionally handy on vacations, when you want to share breathtaking views and fun moments in their entirety with your loved ones. As Facebook says, the world is your oyster.
While Facebook is rolling out these new photo features, social media rivals Twitter and Instagram do not match up.
Twitter and Instagram do not originally and directly support 360-degree photos, while they can be supported using third-party tools.
Meanwhile, on Facebook’s Messenger, HD videos were introduced along with the 360-degree photo function.
After the launch of the HD photo function last year, Facebook is now allowing users to do the same with videos. You can now send videos from your camera roll, newsfeed or even from another message thread through Messenger.
The result is optimisation of video quality and an enhanced viewing experience for receivers.
Both functions are easy to identify in Messenger. A compass icon will appear on the right-hand side of a panoramic photo. The videos are also easily identifiable, with a HD or SD marker.
Quality of the video can be changed by using the marker on the lower right side when in full screen mode.