Messenger Lite, a stripped-down version of Facebook's popular Messenger chat client, has limited features by necessity; Facebook engineered the app to be optimized for budget devices and slow connections. While the simplicity can be refreshing compared to the bloated messes many Facebook-owned apps are becoming, it can also be constraining — but Facebook announced today that Lite is getting new tricks to bring it closer to its feature-rich older brother while maintaining its relatively light footprint.
Users of Messenger Lite could always receive GIFs, but now they can send them, too. The app doesn't have a built-in GIF function, though; you'll have to upload them manually or search for them through your keyboard. (On a personal note, Lite's previous inability to send GIFs made the app practically unusable for me, so I'm very glad to see they're supported now.) You can also now choose a color and emoji for each chat, rather than the default blue and thumbs up. Members of chats can be assigned nicknames, too.
The addition of new, arguably unnecessary functionality present in the full-fat version of the app might worry some users who really want the most basic way possible of staying in touch with their Messenger-using friends, as Facebook has a tendency to cram heaps of features into its apps. The social network points out that Messenger Lite is still considerably smaller than the full version, though, currently weighing in under 10 megabytes as opposed to Messenger's 47. Time will tell if it'll stay truly lite.