As the famous quote says, there are only three certain things in life: death, taxes, and Facebook making major changes. Okay, we made that last one up obviously, but the still famous social networking app has been notorious for constantly making big changes to both its desktop and mobile apps, and not always to the liking of its millions of users. The latest big one is that it is slowly “forcing” Android users to switch to the separate Messenger app as they will disable messaging in the main app soon.
Probably to avoid any major attention, Facebook did not make any major announcements or press releases about this, but instead is notifying users directly. They are advising users that if they want to continue using its Messenger services, they should download the separate app, which is apparently being used by 200 million people every month to send and receive messages and exchange pictures, videos, etc. In the next few days, they will start disabling the messaging option in the main Facebook app for Android and iPhone users but will retain it for those using feature phones, Windows phone, the Paper app, the iPad, mobile web and desktop.
In fairness to them, the latest Messenger updates have changed the layout into something cleaner and more user-friendly. They’ve also added several features that will make it look and feel like other popular messaging apps like Line, Viber, WeChat. There is now recorded video sharing for when sending words or pictures is just not enough. There’s also a split-screen button so you can of course see yourself as you send a selfie picture or video to the lucky (or unlucky) recipient. And of course the previously added free call on the app is a must-have for any messaging app that wants to be taken seriously.
But despite these new features and the logical move to separate the messaging app, expect the forced migration to annoy a lot of people (and see a lot of complaints through FB posts). Some people just want everything to be in just one app and will find it a pain to manage a separate one. The floating Chat Heads are also kind of annoying and disruptive while using other apps. Let’s wait and see if they can still maintain that 200 million users per month once the rollout has finished. You can download the Messenger app from the Google Play Store.