Remember when Facebook Messenger was just another way to have a private chat with your Facebook peeps? It’s become much more.
Last year, Facebook spun Messenger off into a separate app for some 600 million mobile users. This year, Messenger became a platform unto itself, with armies of developers eager to build apps for it.
Last week, Facebook announced the new Messenger platform at its annual F8 developers conference in San Francisco. Along with the news came 39 free apps you can download and install directly from Messenger. These apps let you spice up your Facebook chats with video, GIFs, sound clips, animation, and seemingly infinite variations on the selfie.
Some of these apps are wicked cool, some are stupid, and some are just weird. Here are 10 of our favorites (some of which are stupid and/or weird).
Warning for those of you reading this at work: Some of these might be loud.
Why should Hollywood have all the fun? The app from director J.J. Abrams’ digital production company lets you add oversized special effects to brief video clips. Watch the Starship Enterprise unload photon torpedoes on a San Francisco street or an enormous boulder obliterate two friends chatting. About a dozen effects come free with the app; additional ones cost a buck.
The kings of personalized video e-cards have downscaled their goofy greetings to bite-sized pieces for Messenger. You have two options: Take a selfie or snap a pic of a friend, then add the face to a GIF; or choose from one of JibJab’s library of hundreds of prefab images.
Nothing says “I Love You” like a grown man dressed as an elf. The GiF app offers hundreds of searchable images with captions and hashtags, and lets you organize your favorites into collections so you can use them anywhere.
Ditty turns your text messages into a 20- to 30-second music clips set to a familiar tune. Roughly a dozen public domain tunes like “Hail to the Chief” are available for free; slightly more recent hits (like “Brave” or “Like a Virgin”) cost a dollar.
Take a quick video selfie; Emu animates it with one of 18 canned phrases, from “I love you” to “whatever,” which you can quickly insert into the conversation. Don’t care? Hey, whatever.
Speak into your phone’s mic; FlipLip records you and gives you a choice of six voice effects, including Robot, Helium, and God. Swipe left to frame your face in “costumes” like a sailor, mermaid, or the Almighty himself.
This app lets you make your own video using just words — hence the name. Type a phrase, and the app finds appropriate images to illustrate each one, strings them together, and adds a soundtrack. You can swap in your own images and choose from nine musical themes. Didn’t you say you always wanted to direct?
This app is similar to Wordeo, only instead of setting your words to images and music it uses micro-clips from movies. Type your message, and a different famous person will recite each word. Say hello to all your little friends.
Dress up your selfies with animations and sound effects using Magisto. You can choose from six moods — like happy, hyper, or scary — and the app does the rest. Sadly, grumpy is not among them.
Think Karaoke, only on your phone and (probably) not fueled by excessive alcohol consumption — that’s Hook’d. Record a 30-second clip of you singing along to a hit tune; you can then correct the pitch, add echo, and toss in some visual effects before you send it. Artists include Meghan Trainor, Wiz Khalifa, Marvin Gaye, the Ramones, and, yes, MC Hammer. As the above video abundantly proves, talent is not required.
Send messages and singing lessons to Dan Tynan here: ModFamily1@yahoo.com.