Spread holiday cheer with Facebook Messenger’s new features

Though it’s sometimes difficult to keep track of Facebook’s many new updates and features, the newest have been revealed just in time for the holidays. If you’re looking for different ways to spread holiday cheer via Facebook Messenger, you’ll likely be interested in the newest holiday-themed features to hit the app.

According to Facebook, Messenger’s holiday features are designed to “surprise and delight the ones you love.” If you’ve been planning to buy and mail out holiday cards to your friends and family, you might want to take a much easier route and head toward your Messenger app instead.

You can even skip mailing that card with the picture of everyone dressed up in matching sweaters. Photo Magic, which has been in testing for a month, allows you to take a picture and send it out to everyone in the picture immediately. If you’ve ever taken a photo and then forgotten to send it to someone, Photo Magic might be your solution, especially when you’re taking New Year’s photos and it’s easier to forget what you’re supposed to do with them afterward. You do have to enable the feature in your Settings menu in case you don’t want to easily share your holiday photos, or you can select “X” when prompted if you don’t want to try the feature.

New holiday features also include ways to customize your conversations with new emoji and nicknames options. These include the ability to change the colors of a family group thread or an “emoji response” when replying to a holiday meet-up in case you’d rather not resort to the boring old thumbs-up emoji. Probably the most fun holiday feature, however, is the ability to send snowflakes, Santas, or Christmas tree emoji — especially enjoyable if you want to pretend you are inside your own snow globe.

Also, although not entirely holiday-related, you can now select the Frozen sticker pack or the Star Wars pack. So if you’re feeling Grinchy, Facebook Messenger’s new features could help get you into a cheerier mood, at least during the holiday season.

Product Review

Bigger. Smarter. Louder. The Echo Plus makes Alexa sound better than ever

Amazon’s second-generation Echo Plus speaker is the loudest, bassiest speaker in the Echo fleet. While featuring a smart hub with only Zigbee connectivity, other upgrades make this device a worthy smart speaker.
Product Review

The all-new Palm wants to be many things, but it’s really just a tiny smartphone

The all-new Palm is here, and it’s tinier than ever. Exclusive to Verizon, it syncs to your primary smartphone and acts as a secondary device -- with features to help you disconnect from technology. But at $350, is it worth the high price…

GPS units aren't dead! Our favorite models still do things your phone can't

Love hitting the open road but hate having to rely solely on your phone for getting around? Thankfully, the best in-car GPS systems will allow you to navigate and capitalize on a range of features sans your cellular network. Here are our…

Updating to Apple’s iOS 12 will make your iPhone a whole lot smarter

iOS 12, the latest version of Apple’s iOS, is officially here. We took it for a spin to check out its new noteworthy features, and if it truly changes our smartphone habits for the better.
Social Media

Instagram says its A.I. can track down bullying in photos

Instagram is turning to artificial intelligence to help it root out bullying on its platform. Following similar efforts to target bullying in comments, the company now has systems capable of detecting bullying in photos, too.
Social Media

Snapchat is using VR to let you step inside its new original shows

Tuning in to your favorite shows not enough? Snap Originals will allow viewers to set into a virtual set. The new exclusive shows debut today with three different shows. Snap Originals are vertical, short, and exclusive to the platform.
Social Media

3D Facebook photos jump out of the newsfeed, no glasses needed

You're not seeing things -- that photo in your Facebook newsfeed is 3D. Launching today, 3D Facebook Photos use the depth maps from dual-lens smartphones to add dimension to an image as you move your phone.
Social Media

Instagram is testing a new way for you to look through your feed

Instagram is constantly tweaking its app to help give its users the best experience possible, so how do you like the sound of tapping — instead of swiping — to look through your feed?

Was your Facebook account hacked in the latest breach? Here’s how to find out

Facebook now reports that its latest data breach affected only 30 million users, down from an initial estimate of 50 million accounts. You can also find out if hackers had accessed your account by visiting a dedicated portal.

Hinge's new feature wants to know who you've gone out on dates with

With its new "We Met" feature, Hinge wants to learn how your dates are going with matches in its app. That way, it can inject the information into its algorithm to provide future recommendations that better suit its users' preferences.
Social Media

Like a pocketable personal stylist, Pinterest overhauls shopping tools

Pinterest shopping just got a bit better with a trio of updates now rolling out to Pinterest. The first replaces Buyable Pins with Product Pins for more features, including knowing whether or not a product is in stock.
Smart Home

Facebook’s new Portal device can collect your data to target your ads

Facebook confirmed that its new Portal smart displays, designed to enable Messenger-enabled video calls, technically have the capability to gather data on users via the camera and mic onboard.
Social Media

YouTube is back after crashing for users around the world

It's rare to see YouTube suffer serious issues, but the site went down around the world for a period of time on October 16. It's back now, and we can confirm it's loading normally on desktop and mobile.
Social Media

Twitter has sorted out those weird notifications it was sending

Twitter started churning out weird notifications of seemingly nonsensical letters and numbers to many of its users on Tuesday morning. The bizarre incident even prompted Twitter boss Jack Dorsey to get involved.