Facebook is rolling out the ability to send private messages with stickers — cute, pre-made, sometimes animated images — from its website.
Facebook has launched stickers on mobile in mid-April, but now even the webchat smiley button reveals a basket leading to the web sticker store where you can choose from 16 different free packs to add to your repertoire. Stickers could also keep Facebook users from straying to other messaging mediums.
However, Facebook’s sticker progress could slow down. I’ve learned that Sophie Xie who is the designer who started the Facebook stickers initiative at a hackathon and was their product designer and art director, has just left the company.
Stickers for the web was one of her final contributions, which is why she also appears in the screenshots below sent out by Facebook PR. Xie had only been with Facebook since 2012 but her departure is a significant loss for the company, whose stickers team will have to carry on without her. She’s now working on a bespoke hyper-local location app.
Facebook confirms that it won’t charge users for sticker packs the way other messaging apps like Line and Path do despite calling it a Sticker Store.
While it also worked with Universal Studios to create a branded sticker pack for their new Despicable Me 2 film, Facebook says it also has nothing to announce regarding the potential for the sponsored stickers that brands might pay to have added to the store.
That doesn’t mean stickers aren’t going to make Facebook money. The fun little visual communication tools could also be the reason enough for users to stay with Facebook Messages rather than choosing other apps like Google Hangouts, the new unified chat system which combines Google+, Google Messenger, and also Google Talk has no stickers as of yet.
Meanwhile, the more you message, the more Facebook knows about who you’re closest with. It can even use that data to refine its content relevance algorithms and show you the feed stories about people you care most about.