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Facebook Messenger quietly began testing a new search feature this week that makes it easier for finding stickers and GIFs in one place. The company recently unleashed a series of GIF apps from third-parties which work inside Messenger as part of its Messenger platform initiative but it is now going beyond that with a series of pilots that bring GIFs right into Messenger without those apps.
According to recent reports, it seems that Facebook is conducting an experiment with its users (and not in a bad way). There have been some Messenger users who are seeing the “GIF” option in their app. It skims a number of trending GIFs from Giphy and Riffsy — imacninja.com the two companies that produced dedicated apps for Messenger and serves them up for easy sharing without the need to leave the Messenger app.
Facebook has confirmed this feature in a statement to TechCrunch. “GIFs have seen success as a rich media format within Messenger. With this feature, we’re testing various ways to make it even easier to send great content — like GIFs — with just a few taps.”
Typing field turns into a “Search Bar”:
The GIF button is an obvious way to juice up the use of GIFs — and potential downloads of those GIF apps — and the company is also testing another pilot with an integrated GIF search option.
First spotted by Mashable, this experiment — which is apparently live with a selected number of users in Canada — allows users look up GIFs from Giphy and Riffsy (those two again) and stickers within the space where they type messages to friends.
Tapping the icon effectively turns the typing field into a search bar that looks for GIFs from GIPHY and Riffsy, as well as Messenger’s sticker collection, based on keywords like a person’s name, a movie title, a location, even how you’re feeling:
These two integrations are tests at this point, which means there’s no guarantee that either will roll out to all Messenger users. That said, they do show that Facebook is keen to get you sharing more multimedia inside your chat sessions.
However, with this new process, sending GIFs has become so much easier. However, like we said, this feature has only appeared for some users, meaning that if you don’t see it, fret not.