Facebook's redesigned Messenger takes aim at WhatsApp, Snapchat
Users don't have to be Facebook friends to message each other with the new app
IDG News Service - Facebook is hoping to gain a stronger foothold in the competitive mobile messaging space with an updated version of its Messenger app, which now lets people message each other even if they aren't Facebook friends.
On Wednesday, the company announced an update to its standalone Messenger app, which lets users send text messages to each other, but without the other content on Facebook like the news feed and timeline profiles.
The updated app was available previously in a testing mode to a small number of users on Android-based devices, but now is available more widely to people on both Android and iOS.
Before the update, the app let users send messages just to their Facebook friends. Now it lets people send messages to anyone with a Facebook account -- even if they're not friends -- as long as the sender knows the person's phone number. The message appears in the recipient's Messenger app or in the person's Facebook messages folder.
By using Facebook's network to send the message, it saves the sender an SMS charge, similar to other mobile-to-mobile messaging services like WhatsApp, Snapchat and WeChat, which have become popular among teenagers and young adults.
Messenger's new feature may allow Facebook to better compete against those services. Facebook is losing some of its younger teenage users on a daily basis, the company reported during its last earnings call.
The new Messenger app is also designed to be faster, by letting users see which of their Facebook friends are on Messenger. An icon will appear next to the names of people who have downloaded Messenger, which means that those users will be notified instantly upon the message's delivery, Facebook said.
The app was also given a new streamlined look to be easier to get around, by letting users swipe to see recent conversations. Messenger started as a desktop chat client, but when it comes to messaging on mobile, "people want something faster and lighter weight," Facebook said.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The Business of Social Business Social business represents a significant transformational opportunity for organizations. Read this whitepaper to learn more.
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- Simplify and Consolidate Data Protection for Better Business Results Learn about IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager Operations Center, which provides advanced visualization, built-in analytics and integrated workflow automation features that leapfrog traditional backup...
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All Social Media White Papers | Webcasts