Facebook Redesigns Messenger, Removes Text Messaging On Android

Facebook continues to boost its mobile apps and now they have redesigned their Messenger app for both Android and iOS. This time, it is less Facebook and more messaging with a visually appealing design that might force you ditch WhatsApp particularly with a feature that lets you find your Facebook friends if you have their phone numbers. More on this after the break.

The app is not Facebook Messenger, it is only Messenger. Facebook has renamed the app to make it more of a messaging app and less of a Facebook app. It is not available to everyone at the moment and is being tested among a group of Android users. The app will roll out to everyone on Android and iOS in the coming weeks.

The contact pictures are now rounded – that surely comes from Google+ but it does look pretty and hence most mobile apps have rounded contact pictures. The app’s design no longer looks anywhere close the official Facebook app, instead it has a minimalist design. The contact pictures have a badge on them which let you know if your friend is using the Messenger app or is sending messages via web. This helps you identify if your friend can instantly receive your messages or not. The badge was previously available in the list of contacts online towards the right side of the app. Placing it on the contact picture is definitely a good move as it becomes more noticeable.

The Messenger app on Android would be much faster now as it will no longer support text messaging. You will no longer be able to send text messages to your friends’ phone numbers. With Android 4.4 on its way, selection of the default messaging app rests in the user’s hands. Google Hangouts will however replace SMS app in Android if we were to believe some leaks posted online.

Though you can not send text messages, Messenger will let you text friends via Facebook provided you have their phone numbers. This doesn’t require you to be friends with the person you are texting. Facebook guarantees that the text will be delivered to your friend’s inbox and not to the Other folder. Upon startup, Messenger will ask you for your phone number. After you enter your phone number, Messenger will show you a list of people whose number resides in your contacts but you are not friends with. This is similar to how WhatsApp works.

With this update, the competition between messaging apps becomes tough. Facebook updates its Messenger app, BlackBerry plans to bring voice and video to BBM but what is WhatsApp up to?

via The Verge