Messenger goes immersive with new 360 photo compatibility

Messenger now allows you to share immersive views with your friends. In an update announced on Tuesday, April 3, Messenger added support for 360 photos as well as upgrading to high-definition video. The 360 support allows for both uploads from a 360 camera as well as 360 apps and even panoramas from the native camera app.

Sharing a 360 photo follows a nearly identical process as adding an image with a standard aspect ratio. First, make sure you have a 360 image inside your camera roll. Facebook supports 360 cameras and 360 photo apps, but you can also shoot a panorama with the native camera app and Facebook will do the immersive conversion for you.

Inside a message, tapping on the photos icon will bring up the camera roll. Select the 360 image, and Facebook will process that file before sharing with the person or group in the message. Like 360 images inside the newsfeed, tapping on the image will enable the motion control, where moving the smartphone or tablet will allow you to explore all the angles of the image. On a desktop computer, moving the mouse will pan around the image.

Three-sixty images are marked with a circular icon in the bottom right corner.

The update also ups video resolution from standard definition to a high-definition 720p. In 2017, Facebook updated photos to a 4K resolution and is now bumping up video resolution, though not to the same level as stills. 720p is on the lower end of high definition compared to 1080p, but users may notice a quality improvement to videos shared on Messenger. Videos that are already at least 720p are automatically shared at that new higher resolution.

The update comes as visuals become increasingly important in messaging apps — just look at Snapchat’s emphasis on the camera. Facebook may not be done with the visually focused updates either, since visuals are on the company’s list of trends for 2018 for Messenger. The platform is predicting a growth for visual sharing inside the app this year. Videos and images have been growing in popularity on social networks and that trend is migrating to chat platforms.

Users worldwide are gaining that 360 photo capability. The HD video update is available in 18 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia. Both updates are for both iOS and Android platforms.

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