People are already sharing lots of photos in Messenger, and Facebook already knows what your friends look like.
Last month, 9.5 billion photos were sent within Messenger. People like to use it for photo sharing, and Facebook wants to encourage that. So the company is applying its facial recognition technology directly to your camera roll so it can scan the pictures you haven't uploaded yet. When it sees a Facebook friend in one, Facebook will suggest you send it to them through its Messenger app. Here's how it will work.
The feature is called Photo Magic.
It uses the same facial recognition technology behind Facebook's tag suggestions, and the experimental app Moments.
When Facebook finds your friends in a photo, it will send a push notification prompting you to share it with them.
You can hit "send" right from your home screen.
It won't notify you about every photo.
Facebook says it is working on finding the right balance of when to alert you, and when not to. You can also choose to not use Photo Magic at all.
So far, only people in Australia can use Photo Magic.
Facebook is rolling out an Android version of Photo Magic in Australia today and an iOS version shortly.
Facebook won't scan your camera roll at all times.
But it might do so frequently, if you decide to use Photo Magic. On Android, Messenger will be alerted every time a new photo is taken. On iOS, it will check in periodically. It will only scan for new photos.
And that is Photo Magic in a nutshell!
Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.
Contact Alex Kantrowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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