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facebook messenger

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Facebook Messenger's homescreen is about to get a total overhaul

Facebook announced an all-new layout for its Messenger app today (presumably for Android and iOS, though only iOS screenshots were provided). The new "home" area in Messenger is designed to make the app more than just a dumb message hub, and much more of a "Facebook people I care about" hub. Instead of simply being a list of chats, Messenger will now show you your favorite contacts, upcoming birthdays (because Facebook), and who's online now. Recent chats will still sit at the top of the "home" area in the app, there just won't be as many living there anymore.

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Facebook officially adds SMS support to Messenger

Nearly three years after Hangouts combined instant messaging and SMS, Facebook Messenger is doing the same. It's Facebook official.

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SMS Returns In Latest Facebook Messenger Beta

A few months ago, it appeared SMS support was being tested in the Facebook Messenger app, with some sporadically seeing SMS show up in the settings, allowing them to turn it on. It seemingly disappeared, though, with no trace left for many people. Now, however, it's back in the latest beta for Messenger.

The implementation is a little different compared to before. To enable SMS, you don't go through Messenger's settings but Android's settings (I assume the process will be different on anything less than Marshmallow, but I don't know how). Head over to Settings > Apps > Advanced (the little cog in the top right) > SMS app and enable it there.

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Facebook Is Probably Killing Chat On Mobile Site, Already Forcing Users To Messenger App Instead

According to a new dialogue on the mobile Facebook website, the company will soon be forcing users of the service to download the native Android Facebook Messenger app in order to even view conversations.

The mobile site has been pushing users to download Messenger for some time, but it in the last few days, Facebook has begun much more aggressively shuffling mobile web users who go to the chat (messages) tab over to the Messenger app. Simply tapping the "messages" tab on the mobile web UI will immediately send you through to the Play Store listing for Messenger without any warning whatsoever.

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Facebook Messenger Adds Direct Reply On Android N And Will Soon Overhaul Over 1500 Emojis

Direct Reply, which was introduced in Android N, aims to help you act on some notifications right away, without having to head into the app first. Its benefit is easily felt in communication apps and we've seen it so far implemented in Hangouts and a couple of other messaging apps. It's now making its first appearance in Facebook's own Messenger, in version 74.0.0.5.65 which is only available to beta testers of the app (or through APK Mirror).

If you're on this latest beta, you'll see a Reply button right beneath the notification, allowing you to type and send an answer to your contacts instantly without having to switch to the app.

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Facebook Messenger Now Has Group Call Feature, Global Rollout Has Started

Facebook's been making some big improvements to Messenger recently, and the latest is no different: group calling is coming, with the global rollout having started yesterday on both iOS and Android. As is now usual with Messenger, the web app (on both facebook.com and messenger.com) will probably get the update at some point in the future.

Group calling works as you'd expect: tap on a group chat and, if the feature has rolled out to you yet, there will be a phone icon in the app bar. Tap this and it will bring up a dialogue asking who you'd like to include in the group call.

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The Facebook Messenger Platform Is Gaining Support For Bots

Bots. They're coming. They're not after world domination. They don't want to entrap mankind in order to guarantee our safety. They simply want to talk.

And they're talking, alright. They're talking on Telegram. They're coming to Skype. Google apparently has another messaging service in the works, and they're making plans to talk all over that.

Now they're ready to host conversations in Facebook Messenger.

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Share Your Dropbox Files Directly In Facebook Messenger

Facebook's Developer Conference is scheduled to start today so this is probably one of many bits of Messenger and Facebook news you'll read in the next 48 hours. Dropbox just announced that it now integrates in Messenger to allow you to share any media files or documents from your cloud to friends and group chats.

If you already have the Dropbox app installed on your phone, you'll see it as a source for sharing under Messenger's "More" menu just like in the first screenshot above. You can then browse your Dropbox files, pick the one to share, and send it. If it's an image, gif, or video, it will be immediately embedded and previewed inside the conversation.

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Facebook Messenger Adds Usernames, Links, And Messenger Codes

Facebook says there are 900,000,000 people who use Messenger on a regular basis. That's a lot of people, so Facebook has come up with a new way to make it easier to find someone. You now have the option of creating a Messenger username, which also works as a link or a scannable code.

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[Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3] Facebook Is Testing A New Call Tab On Messenger

Much like Google, Facebook runs a lot of tests on its products, trying to gauge whether new things are a good idea. It tested a material update to Messenger, the Reactions button and Messenger SMS (which is still ongoing), multiple Messenger accounts, and probably more besides. Now it's got a new one for Messenger as well: a call tab.

You probably already know that users can make both video and voice calls through Messenger; there's even an app for it, although it hasn't been updated since August 2015. Before the material update, the option to place a VoIP call was on the lower action bar, alongside the one to search or start a new message.

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