WhatsApp introduces Avatar feature similar to Apple’s image playground

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

Meta’s WhatsApp is reportedly developing a feature that allows users to create personalized avatars in various settings using Meta’s AI technology in a bid to enhance user interaction.

This new capability, first discovered by WABetaInfo, is anticipated to be included in an upcoming software update later this year.

The feature enables users to upload a series of photographs that will train Meta’s AI to generate realistic digital renders of themselves in diverse scenarios—from serene forests to outer space.

Screenshots of the beta version illustrate how users can upload an initial photograph and then prompt the AI with commands like ‘Imagine me…’ to create customized avatars. These avatars can potentially be used as profile pictures or shared with friends.

While the feature is currently in beta testing and its full rollout date remains unspecified by Meta, it represents Meta’s latest venture into AI-driven image generation, akin to existing technologies like Lensa AI and Snapchat’s ‘Dream’ feature.

Interestingly, this development bears a notable resemblance to Apple’s recently announced ‘Image Playground’ tool, set to debut with iOS 18. Apple’s tool also allows users to transform photos into various styles such as animation, illustration, and sketch, potentially even creating 3D avatars like a space-themed character.

However, there are distinctions between the two offerings. Meta’s feature seems focused on integrating deeply with WhatsApp’s messaging platform, allowing for seamless avatar creation within chats.

In contrast, Apple’s Image Playground, though similar in concept, may have different capabilities regarding how these generated images can be used, particularly in profiles or avatars.

It’s worth noting that Meta’s AI functionalities, including Meta AI, are gradually rolling out to users, starting with a limited group in the US before a wider release later this year. Meanwhile, Apple’s features are set to expand globally, pending regulatory approvals in regions like the UK and EU.

As the tech giants race to innovate in AI-driven user experiences, the introduction of these features underscores a growing trend towards personalized digital interactions facilitated by advanced AI technologies.

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