Beep. Hmm, someone's messaging me on Facebook.
"Hey!!! How's life?"
Great, who is this person? "... Do I know you?"
"OMG F U MAN!!1!"
Okay, maybe the strangers messaging you weren't quite as hostile, but we've all been there. A stranger wants to chat, and now you're left contemplating how to respond.
Well, according to TechCrunch, Facebook Messenger is rolling out a way to help users better deal with this issue in France, India, the UK, and the US. Now when non-friends start a conversation, a brief bio will appear at the top of the chat. You will see their name, the city they've entered into their Facebook account, and any other biographical information they've made publicly available. Seeing that they work in the same industry as you in the town you visited a couple of weeks ago might be just enough to jog your memory.
These blurbs won't just appear for people you've never met. Messenger will also show them for friends that you haven't talked to before, the many hundreds of people you've added who are effectively the same as strangers. Just because you shook hands that one time in college doesn't mean you're going to remember their name for life.
This functionality isn't all that different from what appeared in Hello, Facebook's dialer and caller ID replacement that launched on Android last month. Other third-party apps have also experimented with providing your conversations with context. Considering what phones are, it's a worthy pursuit. This kind of change could make Facebook correspondence a little less awkward and better position the site for professional use. For the people who aren't still glued to their LinkedIn feeds, that is.