The modern social network space has proven to be one the most difficult digital battlegrounds to date. The market just seems to follow its own, often mysterious trends, sometimes leaving even titans like Google out of the big picture. The fickle nature of the business thus mandates quick and aggressive competitive moves and its is no secret that Facebook and Snapchat have been tied down in a social battle for some time now.
In response to the yellow ghost's multimedia first approach to the niche, Facebook has started experimenting with its own take on various camera-based experiences. The latest such, is a limited launch feature that allows users to create custom profile frames. The idea is exactly what it sounds like - you take your favorite image editing software and create some transparent pictures, then arrange them properly, upload to Facebook and have yourself and others use it as photo frames.
Currently, the feature is being beta tested in Colombia, Mexico, Taiwan, the U.K. and Ireland, which were selected for this initial launch as the markets that currently use Facebook's profile photo frames the most. This is precisely where this first installment of the custom frames feature currently resides.
However,the company has bigger plans for the future. The custom frames are actually part of a much bigger package, Facebook is calling the Camera Effects Platform. Like the name suggests, the social giant plans on expanding the feature in both functionality and reach with the ultimate goal of creating a very Snachat-like experience, complete with life filters, tags and said custom frame overlays.
As a matter of fact, another beta test of what is knows as Facebook's in-app camera feature is currently running in Ireland as well. It covers all the Snapchat basics, like the aforementioned animated mask and filters and throws in some other interesting twists, like "reactive"filters that respond to body movements, Prisma-style art processing and geofilters.
The latter actually sound most promising in our opinion, due to the nature of the Facebook platform. Both users and businesses could benefit from geo-targeted filters, overlays or other camera content that only gets triggered and becomes available to user in the vicinity of a location or while taking part in a given event. Of course, Snapchat isn't far behind on this front either.
If you happen to live in one of the beta test markets for the custom profile frames tool, you can check out the source link, where you will find a few tips for making the overlays, as well as content guidelines. Currently, Facebook seems to be envisioning the feature as a promotional tool for events and causes, so, most other uses might be rejected. At least in this early stage, that is. There are also templates for you to download and use.