Apple beefs up Messages with a slew of new features

The app is shaping up to be a strong alternative to Facebook Messenger.

Apple announced at its WWDC keynote today that it is drastically changing the way its Messages app operates. Don't worry -- that's a good thing. Users will now be able to add a bunch more context to their conversations beyond colorful language.

You can add photos and live video feeds to the transcript or drop in rich links. And lo, the emojis. They now appear three times larger than before, so you don't have to squint at the screen. Apple is also integrating an emoji search engine directly into Messages' keyboard, similar to Google's gBoard. What's more, the keyboard will also automatically notice and highlight "emojiable" words so you simply tap on the word to replace it with an emoji. Hopefully, there's a reversible process for parents so they can have some idea of what their kids are typing at them.

Additionally, you'll be able to activate scalable "bubble effects" that adjust the font size of your text, simulating whispers and shouts. Plus, you can add your own handwriting as well as small special effects -- think fireworks or strobe lights -- to individual texts that briefly take over the screen. Because that won't get irritating after the first dozen times.

And, like Facebook's Messenger app, Apple's Messages now allows you to overlay images with text. The difference is that Apple allows you to add actual handwriting rather than fonted text, similar to what Snapchat does. You can expect more features and functionality in the coming months as Apple opens up the Messages platform to developers.

Get all the latest news from WWDC 2016 here!