October 22, 2021 – Facebook has recently announced the availability of new ‘Group Effects’ augmented reality (AR) experiences on Messenger video calls and Messenger Rooms. Group Effects are AR experiences that can augment everyone on a video call at the same time, allowing for more fun and immersive ways for users to connect with one another. As well as being introduced to Messenger, Group Effects will also be coming soon to Instagram, according to Facebook.
Facebook stated that at the end of the month it will be expanding access to the new Spark AR Multipeer API in order to enable more creators and developers to build Group Effects. With the Spark Multipeer API, all creators and developers can build dynamic, real-time interactive effects for larger audiences, which the company hopes will help to transform the way people experience video calling.
With Group Effects, users can play multiplayer interactions with friends, making video calls a shared experience. Users will be able to choose from a library of over 70 Group Effects, including examples such as a game where all users on a call compete to build the best burger, or an effect with a cat that enters everyone’s screens.
To try out Group Effects, users can start a video call or create a room in the Messenger app, tap the smiley face to open the effects tray, and then select Group Effects.
In a post on the announcement, Facebook stated: “Many people rely on video calls to bridge physical distance and interact with the world around them, especially now. With Group Effects, we aim to make those interactions even more exciting and memorable.”
Until now, many AR effects have been a solo experience, like augmenting a photo or video for Stories or Reels, so it will be interesting to see what creators come up with to produce new, innovative ways for multiple people to connect via a shared augmented reality experience.
Image credit: Facebook