Facebook considers returning Messenger to main app

Posted on April 15, 2019


Social networking giant Facebook is considering reintegrating its standalone messaging app Messenger back into the main Facebook app.

The feature is currently being tested and was first spotted by Jane Manchun Wong, an app researcher. Should the app be reintegrated, this would mean that users could once again use just a single app to access both the social network and its messaging service.

The change would see Facebook update the Messenger icon that appears in the top right hand corner of the mobile app, and instead of redirecting the user into the Messenger app, it would open a new section that would take the user to their existing chats and messages.

Messenger was first launched as a standalone app in 2011, and three years later, Facebook decided to remove it from the main platform and keep it as a separate entity. This allowed the company to split its focus on what it thought users wanted in terms of messaging and in terms of social networking.

Now, the company has decided that it wants to integrate all of its services, including messaging app WhatsApp and photo sharing platform Instagram. As it wants to integrate these platforms, it makes sense for it to reintroduce Messenger to the main app.

One of the features of the whole service integration would see users able to message their friends, colleagues and other acquaintances in a cross-platform way, meaning that one user does not need to have a Facebook account to be contacted through the site, as it will be connected to Instagram and WhatsApp.

Furthermore, Wong notes that the new Chats section would only contain a limited number of Messenger’s current features. While a user can utilise the platform to send and receive messages, they would still need to access Messenger to use other features such as making phone calls, sending reactions, playing games and so on.

As part of Facebook’s plans to integrate its services, it will continue to allow all the different apps to exist and function as they currently do. Wong further speculates that this will be the case for Messenger, as she believes that it will be kept to serve a different audience to the one served by the main Facebook app.

As part of the screenshots Wong has shared, it is clear to see that Facebook also intends to give it a visual redesign, with a white interface.

This design closely mirrors that of Messenger, which was initially introduced at the beginning of 2019. At present, it is not clear when this integration would become available to users.

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