Facebook has introduced new means to easily use emojis in Messenger chats, and also a new chat background option that might hint at future sponsored background possibilities.
The new emoji features include a new emoji search bar at the top of the reaction picker panel, which allows users to rapidly search for the emoji they wish to add by typing in a search keyword.
When you type in 'Taco,' the taco emoji appears, as shown above. Instead of staring at the little images on screen, swiping through to find the perfect one, you can now perform a keyword search and get to what you need much quicker.
In addition, Facebook has added a new 'recent reactions' section to the reaction picker for emojis that you use frequently but haven't yet made it onto your top reactions list.
Last September, Facebook launched its customizable emoji reactions quick bar, which showcases your top five emoji reactions in-stream. This will be supplemented by other frequently used responses in the new listing.
Moreover, Facebook has introduced a new 'Space Jam' themed background to its growing collection of custom backgrounds.
According to Facebook:
"Whether you’re an old-school fan or just a new member of the Space Jam fandom, you can now try out our brand new Space Jam chat theme, available in Messenger and Instagram DMs."
Facebook has also included themed background selections for 'Fast and Furious,' Olivia Rodrigo's latest album 'Sour', and 'World Oceans Day,' along with many other themes.
This could indicate a future ad option. Although Facebook hasn't made this an official promotional offering just yet, the development of its custom themes, which are related to movie and music releases, could imply that it will at some point.
However, it is possible that it will vary according to whether it'll be used. If nobody is interested in personalizing their chat backgrounds, then there won't be much significance in it. Thus, Facebook is probably utilizing these early initiatives as a kind of test to gauge interest.
In any case, it's another opportunity to liven up your conversations, and the additional emoji options could save you time when it comes to providing expressive replies.