Facebook's internal instant messenger isn't so internal now: it's a stand-alone app platform that will operate in conjunction with the social network, and developers of every flavor can integrate their apps with Messenger. Naturally the first apps to take advantage of this come from Facebook itself: new apps include Selfied, Shout, Sound Clips, and Strobe, and the older Stickered app has been updated, all with the "for Messenger" label.
They're simple little tools or toys that add a bit of fun to Messenger.
Facebook's official app is a lot better than it used to be, if only because the service has become so ubiquitous that it's more or less constantly being updated. Even so, there are Android users with older or cheaper phones, and users in areas where it's hard to find a reliable data connection, that Facebook is intent on serving. To that end the company has published Facebook Lite on the Play Store.
Ever since we first took a look at Motorola's Nexus 6 (and subsequently saw it leaked and finally announced) there's been a question about that blue and white icon in the dock. We learned directly from Google that it would be a new app called Messenger, that sounds like it will - for all intents and purposes - replace the AOSP messaging app that used to appear on stock devices.
Now that Facebook has paid $19 billion for WhatsApp, what's next for the mobile messaging app? Voice calls, apparently. According to TechCrunch, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum announced the upcoming feature at Mobile World Congress earlier today. With this new functionality, the app will even more directly compete with the likes of Skype, KakaoTalk, Line, and Viber. Though, without video support, it still won't be an all-encompassing solution just yet.
Yesterday Facebook announced that it was revamping its Messenger app, stripping it of SMS functionality and creating a more attractive, streamlined experience that the company hopes will draw more users to the app. The new version is currently rolling out to a limited number of users, with a wider release planned for the coming weeks. So when it arrives, what should you expect?
To get started you're going to hand over the keys to everything, including your car, before using the app.
Chat clients limited to one-on-one conversation are going the way of the dodo. We've got numerous options for group messaging including: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google+ Messenger, Live Messenger, and we're even pretty sure Babel (or whatever it will be called) will join the list. Today, popular cross-platform chat app, Tango, steps up to match its competitors.
The additions to the interface are very straightforward. You can pick multiple people from your contact list to start a conversation and at any time add new people or leave the chat altogether from the participants screen.
Today, both of Facebook's current apps have been updated to prepare for the arrival of Facebook Home. The main app merely added an extra permission that Home will eventually use. However, the real fun came to Messenger, which now has the ability to pop out Chat Heads, regardless of if you're using the replacement launcher.
As you may recall from the Facebook Home launch event, chat heads are little bubbles that float over whatever you're doing and allow you to jump straight into a conversation no matter where you are in the OS.
We've been seeing leak after leak about Google's rumored unified messaging service. Now, as more details get seemingly confirmed and and we even get a look at the possibly near-finished app, clearly this is the time for Google to acquire a competing IM service, right? Well, not so much, according to AllThingsD. As it turns out, Mountain View is not about to buy WhatsApp, a company that makes a product that Google is currently nearly done building itself.
Facebook has been slowly rolling out VoIP calling to its Messenger app in an effort to make it the single, unified source for all your communication needs (before Google can). Today, it apparently took another baby step forward by granting UK users of the mobile app the ability to connect for free (minus data charges where applicable) to anyone they're friends with.
At the moment the service doesn't seem to have rolled out to all users yet, and it may even still be a bit buggy (the slow expansion is partially to conduct tests, after all).