Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) users will now have to install a separate messaging app for sending and receiving private messages within its main smartphone app, the social networker revealed on Wednesday. Users in France, England and several other European countries were notified on Wednesday that in a few weeks from now, they will have to install a new standalone Messenger app.
In a statement, Facebook said, “We have built a fast and reliable messaging experience through Messenger and now it makes sense for us to focus all our energy and resources on that experience.”
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Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) spokesman Derick Mains said that the company plans to roll out the changes to all countries eventually, but the spokesman failed to provide any specific time for the update. A Facebook spokesman told Reuters that the move will ensure that all users get a standard and high-quality experience. The standalone Messenger app, which is available free of charge, is more efficient than the earlier messaging service that is inbuilt in Facebook’s primary mobile app. Also, users will be able to enjoy other features included in the Messenger app; like support for voice phone calls.
A separate messaging app for mobile could help the social networker to grow the popularity of Facebook Messenger, however, the move could also backfire if users do not find the app easy to handle.
Facebook using standalone apps to overcome competition
The move could also be viewed as a reply to the increasing competition from fast-growing mobile messaging apps like Snapchat and Line. To overcome the rising threat, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), a few months back, announced the surprise acquisition of the popular WhatsApp messaging app for $19 billion. In 2012, the social networker took over the photo-sharing app Instagram.
In recent times, Facebook has been designing more standalone apps to support its main app. Earlier this year, the world’s No.1 social networking service with 1.2 billion users came up with a photo-heavy news-reading app called Paper, which received positive feedback.
Using a Messenger surely provides a much better experience than in Facebook’s main app, but some users might not favor the idea of installing two Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) apps instead of one. At a time when the homescreen is filled with different favorite apps finding a place for one more app from the same creator might be annoying.