Facebook's Messenger app has gotten pretty hefty over the years, now weighing in at over 100MB. Some phones can't even run it properly, hence the need for a Lite version. Today at its F8 conference, Facebook announced a bunch of improvements coming Messenger's way, including a much lighter [iOS] mobile app and a desktop client.
The Messenger app has been a sore point for Android users for years, so it's nice to see that Facebook will be doing something about it. Dubbed "Project LightSpeed," the new app is said to come in at 30MB — 70MB less than the current app — and launch in under two seconds. Facebook says that it was "completely rebuilt from the ground up on an entirely new code base," which seems promising. Then again, Snapchat said similar things about their new app and that's still garbage, so we'll reserve judgment until LightSpeed debuts later this year.
Never mind. For some reason, Facebook's own blog post neglected to mention that this is only for the iOS app — we had to learn that from The Verge. Facebook says that it has no plans for an Android redesign because Messenger Lite already exists, so us Android users will have to keep dealing with a slow, bloated app.
Facebook is also launching a Windows and macOS desktop client for Messenger, creatively named "Messenger Desktop." It's basically the Messenger mobile app blown up for Windows and macOS computers, which should come in handy for some. Messenger Desktop is reportedly being tested now and will be rolled out around the world later in 2019.
Also mentioned in the announcement was a space in the Messenger app for users to "easily find content from the friends and family you message most." Stories, images, and videos shared with each other will apparently show up here, but specifics on this currently unnamed feature were pretty light. The photo above shows what it'll look like.
Lastly, people will soon be able to watch videos together in real time and message/video chat simultaneously in Messenger, making the feature a virtual living room of sorts. It's not clear where the videos will be streamable from, but Facebook mentions that it "could be your favorite show, a funny clip or even home videos." Personally, I've always wanted something like this to watch YouTube videos with faraway friends, so hopefully Facebook doesn't screw it up when it rolls out later this year.