Facebook's redesigned Messenger takes aim at WhatsApp, Snapchat

Users don't have to be Facebook friends to message each other with the new app

Facebook's updated Messenger app lets users send messages to people who aren't their Facebook friends.

Facebook's updated Messenger app lets users send messages to people who aren't their Facebook friends.

Facebook is hoping to gain a stronger foothold in the competitive mobile messaging space with an updated version of its Messenger app, which now lets people message each other even if they aren't Facebook friends.

On Wednesday the company announced an update to its standalone Messenger app, which lets users send text messages to each other, but without the usual other content on Facebook like the news feed and timeline profiles.

The updated app was available previously in a testing mode to a small number of users on Android-based devices, but now is available more widely to people on both Android and iOS.

Before the update, the app let users send messages just to their Facebook friends. Now it lets people send messages to anyone with a Facebook account -- even if they're not friends -- as long as the sender knows the person's phone number. The message appears in the recipient's Messenger app or in the person's Facebook messages folder.

By using Facebook's network to send the message, it saves the sender an SMS charge, similar to other mobile-to-mobile messaging services like WhatsApp, Snapchat and WeChat, which have become popular among teenagers and young adults.

Messenger's new feature may allow Facebook to better compete against those services. Facebook is losing some of its younger teenage users on a daily basis, the company reported during its last earnings call.

The new Messenger app is also designed to be faster, by letting users see which of their Facebook friends are on Messenger. An icon will appear next to the names of people who have downloaded Messenger, which means that those users will be notified instantly upon the message's delivery, Facebook said.

The app was also given a new streamlined look to be easier to get around, by letting users swipe to see recent conversations. Messenger started as a desktop chat client, but when it comes to messaging on mobile, "people want something faster and lighter weight," Facebook said.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Internet-based applications and servicestelecommunicationapplicationsiosMobile OSessocial networkingmobilesocial mediainternetFacebookmobile applicationsAndroid OS

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?