Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is rolling out some big changes to its Messenger app. The app is going to become a lot more like texting. The company said on its website that the aim is to make it easier for users to reach each other more quickly. Facebook started testing the new version on Android today.
New Facebook Messenger audience limited
For now the audience for Facebook’s new Messenger app is limited to just a few Android users. The social network calls the big change to the app a “mobile-to-mobile” change, which basically means that the app’s users are instantaneously connected to each other while they’re on the app. This idea can be seen throughout the changes in the app, according to Jennifer Van Grove of CNET.
She reports that there are changes to how contacts are shown, notifications are processed, and messages are delivered. All of these changes basically enable Facebook users to send “over-the-top messages” rather than text messages to any contacts in their phone, even if they aren’t friends with them on Facebook.
Signs of change in Facebook Messenger
Contacts which also use Facebook Messenger are indicated with a blue lightning bolt. Other users receive a basic Facebook icon. Messenger users who don’t have push notifications enabled will not receive the lightning bolt bad because they might not receive their message immediately.
The new app is believed to deliver updates faster as well, which should make the entire experience seem faster. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) did not quantify just how much faster it would be, but those who have used it say it does feel like it loads faster.
Other tidbits about the new Facebook Messenger
Mashable’s Kurt Wagner reports that the new app version requires users to include a mobile phone number so that they can receive their messages instantly. The phone number is needed in order to let users receive messages from those they haven’t friended on Facebook.