Facebook’s messaging service will reach 1 billion monthly active users but it offers more than just the ability to chat with your friends. In fact, Facebook Messenger has been getting one improvement after another and you might be missing out on some pretty cool features.
The service allows you to a large number of useful things like requesting an Uber, paying your friends, and sending GIFs.
Even if you’re not a Facebook fan, and would rather stay out of the most popular social network, the sad reality is….everyone else is there. For this reason, Messenger is one of the best ways to chat with your contacts, whether you like it or not. Regardless what reasons you have for using Facebook Messenger, check out these useful tricks that make the app much more versatile.
You can use Messenger without Facebook
Facebook really wants you to use the Messenger app, even if it’s just to stay in touch with your friends and you have absolutely no interest in what Facebook has to offer as a social network.
That’s why last summer the company made it possible to use Messenger without having a Facebook account. When you’re asked to log in, simply tap on the ‘Not on Facebook?’ option and you’re good to go.
Unwanted notifications are a major nuisance, but you may not want to silence all notifications coming from Messenger. Luckily, the app lets you mute specific conversations. Open the conversation you want to silence, tap the name at the top of the message and in the drop-down menu, select Notifications.
Then, you can select how long you want the conversation to be muted. There are several options, specifically fifteen minutes, one hour, eight hours, 24 hours or indefinitely (the last option will silence the notifications until you manually turn them back on).
There’s a separate website for Messenger
Using Messenger inside the Facebook app (or the website) can be very distracting, especially when you actually need to work, or study (or do something else that’s very important and serious…you get the point). If you don’t want to use the Messenger app, but you’re not willing to stay on Facebook either, you can use Messenger’s standalone website: messenger.com.
The UI has the same style as the one in the Messenger app, and from the sidebar present in the conversation thread, you can mute notifications for a certain contact, view shared photos, make a call or start the video chat.
Pin a group conversation
If you have some groups of friends or family members you often chat with, it can be very handy to keep those conversations pinned. This allows you to access them quickly, without having to scroll through the list of contacts.
To pin a conversation, tap on the Groups button found at the bottom of the screen in the Messenger app, and a Pin button will appear in the top left corner. Simply select the conversation you want to pin. You can name it as well as set a photo as the group’s avatar.
Request an Uber
If you’re an Uber user, it makes sense you’d primarily use the app to call a car, although Messenger also provides the option. Tap on the three-dot (More) icon, while in a conversation and select ‘Transportation‘. After you log in you can request an Uber and Messenger will keep you updated regarding the driver’s status. What’s more, the app can track the ride and lets you notify your friends and pay for it.
Send your location
You can send your location to a contact in Facebook Messenger, and it works pretty much like in Apple Maps. Simple open a conversation, select the three-dot icon, tap on location and search for the place and send it.
Send and receive money
You can easily pay your friends via dedicated apps, as well as receive money. However, if you’re already using Messenger, there’s no need to install another app for this purpose. Facebook Messenger lets you do that as well and it’s very easy to send and receive money with it. Here’s a detailed guide.
Twitter might have been a bit late to jump into the GIF bandwagon, but Facebook Messenger is certainly not. While in a conversation, select the three-dot icon (More menu) and Messenger provides a bunch of third-party apps you can install.
You’ll find GIPHY among them. If you tap on the Install option you’ll be taken to the app store where you can download and install the app as any other. After the installation completes, your Messenger app will allow you to select the GIF icon in any conversation from where you can search and send GIFs.
Share photos with facial recognition
Facebook Messenger has a feature called Photo Magic that relies on facial recognition to speed up photo sharing. With Photo Magic enabled, Messenger alerts you to share photos when it detects a new pic that includes one of your Facebook friends in the camera roll. you can toggle on Photo Magic from Messenger’s settings in the ‘Photos & Media‘ section.
Customize your message threads
The app lets you make each message thread unique if that’s something you enjoy doing. In a conversation, tap on the name of your friend at the top of the screen. Messenger will display options to add a nickname as well as customize the color and select a different set of emojis to use within that conversation thread.
What’s your favorite Facebook Messenger feature from today’s roundup and do you know other cool features available in the app? Share your thoughts in the comments section or leave us a message on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.