Facebook might soon revive SMS integration with its Messenger app, which it did away with about three years ago. This feature made it possible for Android users to view and respond to text messages through the app. Since it was not executed well, the company discontinued it in November 2013.
In the testing phase now
A few Android users in the U.S. are able to see a near-identical option pop up in the Messenger app, says a report from Android Police. With such a change, Messenger will become similar to Google Hangouts, which integrates SMS texts and chat messages into one platform.
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Speaking to The Verge, Facebook said, “Right now, we’re testing the ability for people to easily bring all their conversations — from SMS and Messenger — to one place. It’s a really simple way to get, see, and respond to all your SMS messages in just one app. By choosing to access your SMS messages in Messenger, they’re right alongside all the other enhanced features that Messenger offers.”
The social networking giant launched the feature in 2012. At that time, the company said it would not store texts or allow it to work on the web version of Messenger or on other platforms. It isn’t known for now if the company has imposed same restrictions this time as well.
SMS could help Facebook overtake iMessage
If this feature succeeds at making its way to a wider audience, then it will be a significant and aggressive push from Facebook to overtake SMS and long-time U.S. rival iMessage, which has helped Apple replace traditional texting, thanks to its integration of hardware and software.
Despite advancements in technology, SMS is still important because it is one of the default ways in which people communicate. A user can check whether their app has the SMS option or not by looking for the “Change SMS App” option in the Messenger settings panel. Facebook says it is an optional feature.
Last month, the Messenger app crossed the 800 million monthly active user mark, making a place among the most robust mobile user bases on the planet. Yesterday, the company launched multiple account support for the Android version of the app.