Facebook Messenger app adds video chat AR games

Ceria Alfonso
Agosto 10, 2018

It's all part of Facebook's broader bid to jump on the AR bandwagon (think iPhone's Animojis and Snapchat's AR filters) and to keep you using its apps for longer.

Facebook has denied allegations that it is actively asking USA banks to share financial details of its users such as account balances and payment card transactions, even though it did admit that it is in talks with banks about a chatbot service on Facebook Messenger.

"Don't Smile" is a game that uses the front-facing camera of each device using Facebook Messenger to identify when a user gets a grin on their face.

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Although the novelty of games can wear off, perhaps Facebook is content putting time and resources behind it for now.

The social media company said users of financial firms such as PayPal (PYPL.O), Citibank (C.N) and American Express (AXP.N) could link their financial accounts with Facebook's Messenger and chat with a customer service representative. Then open an existing conversation or find the person or group of people you'd like to chat with and tap the video icon on the upper right corner of the screen. Click the star button and select one of the AR games from the list. Early this year the bank launched its chatbot on Messenger to interact with its customers, although the service is limited to promoting new offerings and excludes banking services. More games, including one where you throw a virtual beach ball back and forth among friends, are coming soon.

But before seeking to establish partnerships with banks through its Messenger app, Facebook should strive harder to win back the trust of its users, who have become wary of tech tools that have access to their personal data. This feature allows up to six people to play the AR games at a time via video chat. In Asteroid Attack, users can steer a spaceship around with their nose, avoiding obstacles, while Don't Smile is a variation on a staring contest.

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