Facebook launches Avatars, an alternative to Bitmoji


Facebook launches Avatars, an alternative to Bitmoji: Ditch those emoji generics. The new Avatars feature from Facebook allows you to customize a virtual lookalike of yourself for use in chat and comment stickers. Once you personalize the face, hair, and clothes of your Avatar, they will star in a series of regularly updated stickers that express common emotions and phrases.

You might see this from Likes to Reactions to Avatars as the inevitable progression of Facebook self-expression… or as a brutal clone of the wildly successful Bitmoji selfie stickers from Snapchat.

Before heading to the rest of the world in late 2019 or early 2020, Facebook Avatars will be released today in Australia for use in Messenger and News Feed comments. At a time when the 15-year-old social network increasingly seems drab and uncool, the feature could make Facebook feel more enjoyable, youthful, and visually communicative.

Avatars aren’t quite as cute or hip as Bitmoji in modern slang. But without resorting to cookie-cutter emoticons or cliche GIFs, they could still become a common way of adding some flair to responses.

The Facebook Avatar customizer

There has been a lot of work put into this from the viewpoint of product and design to figure out how to make this as representative as possible with how many users on Facebook,” says Jimmy Raimo, Facebook Avatars contact manager.”

Facebook did not want any demographic left out from providing religious garments such as hijabs to a rainbow of skin colors and hairstyles. “They’re a little more realistic so that they can be your personal avatar vs. trying to make them cute, amusing, and cartoon,” explains Raimo.

How To Make An Avatar for Facebook

In the News Feed comment composer and Messenger sticker choice, users will start to see a smiley-face button they can tap to build their Facebook Avatar. For now, Avatars can only be created by individuals in Australia, but anyone around Facebook will be able to see them.

Facebook Avatar Customizer

The process of creation begins with gender-neutral blank individuals who can customize 18 traits from scratch. For now, there is no choice to start with a selfie or profile pic and have you create an avatar automatically from Facebook. Facebook is studying this form, but Raimo admits that We want to make sure we don’t show you anything completely opposite to the picture.” About facial recognition, there is sensitivity.

Facebook launches Avatars, an alternative to Bitmoji
The Facebook Avatar customizer

Facebook won’t specifically monetize Avatars, at least at first. For your mini-me, there are no endorsed apparel choices from fashion designers or ways of purchasing fancy jewelry or other accessories. Raimo said Facebook, however, is open to these ideas. It would help to personalize it for sure and from a smart business viewpoint.” It is easy to imagine Nike or The North Face paying to make Avatar sport their logos or fans coughing up cash to wear their favorite labels. It’s easy to imagine.” Perhaps this is a case of micropayment use for the forthcoming cryptocurrency of Facebook.

Facebook is also considering extending Avatars to be used as profile pictures or in communities, two areas of the app where you connect with strangers and you can enjoy a 2D drawing’s anonymity instead of a face shot. Facebook has not, however, seriously considered turning Avatars into a forum so that you can use them via an API or keyboard you install on your phone in other applications.

Instead, step 1 was only to ensure that the flow of Avatar development is simple and that most individuals can create one that really looks like them. To help it iterate, the News Feed team developed Avatars’ plans to perform surveys and focus groups.

When asked about the opportunity to adjust the assumed age of Avatars to include older Facebook users, Raimo acknowledged that it intended to fill a void in the app by the end of the year. There’s no way to add wrinkles at the moment, so mom and dad’s avatars may look a little too close to yours.

Avatars have come a long way since Facebook’s v1 prototype a year ago

Avatars have come a long way since Facebook’s v1 prototype a year ago

With Facebook Avatars, the only issue is that they are hopelessly late to the market. “TechCrunch broke the news that a year ago, Facebook worked on Avatars, and that was already a year after I wrote that “Facebook needs its own Bitmoji seriously.

Although it’s nice that it took time to explore how to make them inclusive, in the meantime, Snapchat has gained a lot of ground. Like FaceMoji’s hyper-realistic animated masks, caricature-style Genies, and Morphin, which deepfakes you into famous GIFs, other rivals have appeared.

Bitmoji has been around since 2014, and it has been a pillar of the top 10 apps list since Snapchat purchased it in 2016. Bitmoji has been downloaded over 330 million times, Sensor Tower reports.

And Bitmoji now has its own development kit that hits social applications such as YOLO, games where the character looks like you, and even faces merchandise and smartwatch. Like Snapchat Tales, Facebook Avatars could be too rooted in popular culture for Bitmoji to ever avoid their rap as a rip-off.

Facebook Avatars (left) vs Snapchat Bitmoji (right)

Facebook Avatars (left) vs Snapchat Bitmoji (right)

“We’re not the first ones here by anyway,” admits Facebook News Feed product chief Amit Fulay. Yet that doesn’t mean there’s not a big opportunity here For a very long time, the idea of getting digital representation has been around.”

“This is what we’re trying to do on scale,” Raimo says that Facebook cares more about creating what more people can use and enjoy than having credit for inventing something as was its role in copying Snapchat Stories.

As we move from text-based to image-based communication, the need for humans to express themselves on the internet is only rising. There are already billions of users without Bitmoji on Facebook. There is a broad variety of use cases for providing a parallel virtual likeness, whether for privacy, imagination, or convenience.

It could shield our real face from unwanted exposure to the web’s rougher sides. And now Mark Zuckerberg has the foundation of a digital layer of identity that could move alongside our data with us, personalizing any interaction online.

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