Very soon, when you open the Facebook app on your smartphone, instead of seeing, ‘What is on your mind’ in the box you normally go to update your status, you’ll be faced with an image of yourself starring right back at you.
Imagine if you have not used the mirror in quite a while, you might be startled into wondering about the stranger looking at you from your Facebook page.
This is the latest feature Facebook is testing on the app. Not just the use of the front camera to capture your image though, but a Snapchat-styled feature where you can add filters to the images before uploading them on Facebook for your friends to see.
There is a little timeline to this as many saw it coming. Five months ago, Facebook bought Masquerade app, which at that time was one of the most popular apps in the App Store. The Belarusian owned app was just three months at the time Facebook bought it.
The app’s main reason for been very popular was that it had special filters that can be used to alter the selfie you took in interesting and bizarre ways before sharing it with your friends.
Does that remind you of Snapchat? Well going further back, there is the story that I am sure Facebook is tired of hearing. Three years ago, Facebook tried to buy up Snapchat for about $3 billion but the company refused to sell.
So the acquisition of Masquerade was seen as Facebook’s attempt to get a similar app since the failure to buy Snapchat. And I am sure the executives at Facebook must be alarmed at the rate of growth of Snapchat. So why not copy the things Snapchat are doing to make Facebook also exciting especially to the youths?
Therefore it was clear as daylight that sooner than later, a face altering feature would soon come to Facebook after the acquisition of Masquerade. So it has now happened. But it is in the testing phase though. Although, I don’t see any reason why it won’t be launched fully in future. Nothing is going to stop Facebook in their attempt to clip the wings of Snapchat.
The test of these new feature is been launched to coincide with the start of the Olympic games in Brazil. It is for that reason that the demo video (shown below) on how to use the feature has a strong nationalistic theme.
Two countries have been chosen for the test: Canada and Brazil. However in Brazil, only users of iOS devices would get to try out the new features. How and in what manner Facebook finally release the feature to the general public depends largely on how people in Canada and Brazil use them to post photos and images of themselves during the test period.
So if you really want to use the face-altering software on Facebook, you’d better start rooting for Facebook users in Canada and Brazil to do a good job of testing it.
Back in April, Facebook was really concerned at statistics that show users are sharing less personal stuff on Facebook. Instead, the tendency is to share news items.
For Facebook, this is almost like killing the core values of what made Facebook: the personal things about ourselves we post on Facebook. It is what makes the service unique.
So Facebook are trying several things to make users share personal stuff on Facebook. Integrating masquerade into Facebook could be seen as one of the initiatives. Because with an exciting feature like that, the hope is that people would go on a picture-taking spree just so they can make funny images of themselves before posting them on Facebook.
The test in Brazil and Canada would give them a fair idea if things would work out that way.
image credit: tech.co; techchrunch.com; bidnessetc.com