Facebook will soon require users to install the standalone Messenger app to send and receive private messages, after ripping off the chat function from the primary app.
Facebook Inc. is coming up with a drastic change for mobile users; it is doing away with the chat function completely in its mobile applications. Users are being informed of the need to install Facebook Messenger to send and receive messages on Android and iOS devices. The major decision is a part of the social network's ongoing effort to launch standalone apps for each key feature it offers, rather than bundling them together. The main advantage will be that each feature will be highlighted, such as the Messenger app in this case.
Facebook for iOS and Android offered an integrated chat option within and also offered standalone Messenger app for better experience. Till date it was optional to install and use the standalone chat application. However, the latest development will change that. According to TechCrunch, European users are already receiving notifications to install the Messenger app or lose the chat functionality from mobile devices in about two weeks.
In a statement to TechCrunch, explaining the new change first reported on Thursday, Facebook said "the other thing that we're doing with Messenger is making it so once you have the standalone Messenger app, we are actually taking messaging out of the main Facebook app. And the reason why we're doing that is we found that having it as a second-class thing inside the Facebook app makes it so there's more friction to replying to messages, so we would rather have people be using a more focused experience for that."
The change will definitely draw the ire of users, there will be some in favor and but over time users will get used to it. Amid increasing competition from several other mobile chat applications such as Snapchat and Line (WhatsApp is no longer a competition as it now falls under the ownership of Facebook), it is essential to find a new way to attract users towards its standalone chat application. One other reason the social networking giant is taking the risk could be because the WhatsApp shield will welcome new customers.
Facebook's focus on expanding its standalone app portfolio isn't entirely new. The company launched Paper, a news-reading app, in January. The app was critically acclaimed for its impressive features. Other standalone apps include the popular photo-sharing app Instagram, which was acquired in 2012, and WhatsApp, which was recently acquired for $19 billion in February.
Facebook users will receive multiple notifications before the changes take effect, the company said. The change will apply to iOS and Android devices in the form of an update, Tech Radar reports.