WhatsApp will now turn people’s pictures into avatars.
The app is rolling out a new update that lets people take a selfie and have it turned into a cartoon drawing, which can then be used to react to messages and for other interactions.
Eventually, Meta hopes that its avatars will be used to represent people in the metaverse that it has suggested will be the future of social interaction.
But for now it is largely a way of creating stickers and images within WhatsApp and other messaging apps.
Until now, users in the UK and Europe have been required to create their avatars manually, making choices about how it looks. But the company’ new update means that you can just upload a selfie and WhatsApp will use that to generate a new avatar from scratch.
Users can then go on to personalise that avatar with new clothes and other changes intended to make them more representative of their owner.
WhatsApp says that a billion of the avatars have been created so far. It has brought changes to the system in recent months, including partnerships with brands to have their clothes available as avatars.
The current version of avatars was introduced in 2021. While they are available across Meta’s different platforms, the most obvious use of them is in VR, where they can be used to represent people in games or meetings.