Have you already noticed the latest features of Facebook chat on iOS and Facebook Messenger on Android? Prior to the release of Facebook Home, Facebook’s chat app received an update which included Chat Heads and stickers. Chat Heads are floating avatars of Facebook friends you’re chatting with. Chat Heads appear on top of Facebook pages (iOS) and other applications (Android only), meaning you don’t have to move back and forth between the chat and whatever else you are doing.
Stickers are giant emoticons, which you may know from other apps like LINE, Path, or WeChat. They come in themed sets and new ones can be downloaded from a dedicated store. Stickers are not meant to integrate with text; instead they are sent individually with a single tap. To see the new features, you need to run the latest version of Facebook (Messenger) app. Go to the App Store or Google Play Store and update if necessary.
Disclaimer: Since I don’t own an iOS device, I focused on how these new features work on Android.
How Chat Heads Work
Anyone who chats a lot via Facebook and likes to multitask, will love Chat Heads. When a new message from a friend comes in, their avatar will pop up on the side of your screen. You can tap the Chat Head to open the conversation without leaving the current app. If a Chat Head is in the way, you can move it to any position on either side of the screen.
To remove a Chat Head, drag it onto the X that pops up at the bottom of your screen when you tap and move it. You actually don’t have to drag it all the way, you can just briefly swipe it in the right direction and it will disappear.
In the unlikely event that you are not fond of this feature, you can disable it. Open Facebook Messenger, go to Settings and open Notifications. Un-check Chat Heads and you will never be distracted by friendly avatars again.
And by the way, if you cannot get enough of Facebook Chat Head style notifications, you can also enable them for SMS/MMS. Go back to the Settings main menu and open SMS/MMS Settings. Check enable text messaging and you’re all set.
How To Use Stickers
Stickers are available as separate sets of emoticons from the Facebook chat line. Tap the smiley icon next to the Send button to view your sticker sets. From the Sticker Store, you can presently download several free sets to enhance your sticker collection.
Note that stickers work different than smileys. You don’t send them along with a text message, rather you send them by themselves. When you tap a sticker, it is automatically sent and any message you entered into the chat line will vanish.
In case you can’t yet see the smiley that opens stickers, you might want to try a trick. In the chat line, click the empty space to the left side of the + icon. Since the feature is fully functional on my phone, I’m not able to verify how exactly this works, but some sources say the hack is only available from Chat Heads. Please let us know whether or not the hack works for you.
To be honest, I’m not very fond of the stickers. I hardly ever use exotic smileys or other emoticons, so I don’t see myself using stickers. But if you enjoy emoticons and if you’re a little childish (no offense!), you will probably adore stickers.
Chat Heads, on the other hand, are awesome! While I don’t chat much on Facebook, I enjoy any feature that allows me to multitask better. Regular notifications are just distracting, and I cannot see the full message and respond without having to switch apps. Chat Heads change that. Besides, I think the feature is super sleek; great design and smooth animation.
While both features add a little spice to Facebook’s mobile app, they aren’t an epiphany and certainly won’t draw in more users. However, Chat Heads is a very cool feature and will definitely help to retain people who are already using Facebook. If you are one of them, also check out these chat hacks.
What do you think? Have Chat Heads or stickers changed the way you use Facebook?