The day has finally arrived and Facebook is now making available its long-tested new features for Android and iOS. Once the update hits users, they will be greeted not only with a fresh new look but with the ability to send messages to non-Facebook contacts via SMS.
A few weeks ago, Facebook started testing a rather significant update to its mobile apps on Android and iOS. The first and most visible change is to the look and feel of the app. The app now sports a cleaner and lighter look, employing brighter colors and circles to denote contacts' profile photos in the list. Interaction with the app has also been improved for easier and faster access, making judicious use of swiping gestures to switch between views.
But under the hood, the most significant change is perhaps the addition of a new mode of messaging. Facebook Messenger users can now send messages to their contacts even if the recipient doesn't have a Facebook account. Of course it does this via SMS, so the usual network charges will apply. Recipients, naturally, need to have their phone number in the entry. Contacts that are also using Facebook Messenger are clearly denoted in the contact list with a small blue app icon, so it's easy to determine what kind of message will be sent to whom.
This new version of the Facebook Messenger app is now rolling out to the general public and should be hitting users soon. To avail of the text messaging feature, users need to register and verify their phone number with the app.