Facebook recently updated its free Messenger apps for Android and iOS, adding the ability to shoot photos and 15-second videos within the app. It’s convenient — but it could also be embarrassing. Here's why.
When you take a photo or video in Messenger, the app instantly sends it off to a recipient. Translation: You don’t get a chance for a re-do. So you’d better be sure of what you’re doing with Facebook Messenger or risk a red face.
To send a visual message, you just tap the New Message icon, type in the recipient’s name and tap the camera icon, which is second from the left. The front-facing camera activates by default, but you can switch to the rear camera.
Facebook Messenger is just one app that lets you send video messages. Three others you might consider are WhatsApp, Skype and Snapchat. WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired for a bucket of money, offers video messaging on Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Phone devices. Unlike Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp gives you a "Retake" option after you shoot the video.
Skype lets you send video messages via its Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Windows Phone apps, and via Skype on Windows PCs and Macs. I tested video messaging in Skype on iOS, which lets you preview the video before sending. If you tap the Cancel button, you get the option to re-record or you can cancel it.
Snapchat (for Android and iOS) is famous for letting you send texts, photos and instant videos that, by default, disappear after they’ve been viewed, though you can save favorites.
In other news: Facebook also added a "Big Like" button to Messenger, which lets you send a huge (for a mobile device) thumbs-up to your Facebook pals.
I like Facebook Messenger, but I doubt I’ll use the instant photo/video feature. Call me a control freak, but I’d rather have the option to re-do a video before I send.
(Disclosure: I consult for a firm that has Facebook as a client.)