Facebook’s decision to remove the Messenger app from the main Facebook app is one of the most criticised decision ever taken by the social media giant. Right now, the only way to message any of your Facebook friends is to download the standalone Messenger app from Google Play or the App Store and install it on your phone.
Introduced in 2011, the Messenger app was integrated into the main Facebook platform until a few years back. In 2014, Facebook alienated the Messenger app, making billions of users download the app separately, to stay connected with their Facebook friends. While this provided Facebook, with a separate multi-million user platform, the move was largely criticised by both users and tech experts.
Facebook may bring back Messenger into the main app
Recently, researcher and tech-blogger, Jane Manchun Wong, who is famous for delving into the backend of popular apps, noticed a new feature within Facebook’s app that indicated that Facebook might have plans to integrate the Messenger with the main app.
Wong recently tweeted on her Twitter account, that Facebook is likely working on an app redesign that it may launch in few months. She stated that the new redesign, instead of redirecting users to the Messenger app, opens the chat window within the main app in a separate section.
However, Wong also noted that currently the chat feature within the app has only basic functionalities like sending and receiving messages. If you want to use any of the advanced features like sending photos, making a voice call or using reactions, then you must install the Messenger app. She also noted that these advanced features could be added before the redesign goes live.
Facebook’s grand plan to unify all its apps
Tech experts wonder whether bringing back the Messenger app into the Facebook app signals Facebook’s grand plan to unify all its chat and social apps including Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that Mark Zuckerberg, the Chief Executive of Facebook has plans to integrate all three major divisions of Facebook – WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram under the main Facebook app. While these three services will continue to operate as stand-alone apps, users could conveniently message across these platforms using the main Facebook app. When this happens, it will have major implications as it will allow more than 2.6 billion users to communicate across platforms for the first time.
While this plan is in the works, the NY Times article reported that the unification wouldn’t happen until the end of this year or the beginning of the next year.
What has Facebook got to say about the integration of the Messenger in the main app?
In an interview to the Verge, a Facebook spokesperson stated that the company is testing new ways to enrich the messaging experience for users within the main Facebook app. However, Messenger continues to remain a stand-alone, feature-rich app connecting over a billion users’ monthly and they don’t have any additional details to share.