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Facebook Redesigns Messenger: Send Messages to Non-Friends

October 29, 2013 - Written By Cory McNutt

It seems like a new messaging application is being thrown at us on a daily basis or at the very least, updated to add new features- most recently, we had a huge BlackBerry Messaging (BBM) surge last week, where after months of delays and problems handling the number of downloads, we can finally try out in the Android and iOS worlds what was once an exclusive messenger service only to BlackBerry users.  Today, Google, at their “A Morning With Google+” live broadcast announced major updates to its popular Hangouts messaging application, adding features and making it easier to use.  In addition, today, Facebook announced a major overhaul of its Messenger on Android application, making it easier to use and updating the interface.

As more and more people use Facebook as a way to connect to friends via mobile, they claim they concentrated on building the best mobile experience as possible when it comes to connecting with your friends on Facebook – and that means something “faster and lighterweight.”  Starting today, they are testing a new update to Messenger on Android that should make it a faster and more reliable mobile experience. Below are a few of the goals that Facebook hopes to achieve – these are from their website:

Reach people faster

You’ll know which friends are using the app if you see the Messenger icon Testing a New Messenger Experience on Android next to their name. If you see the Messenger icon, that means your friend is also using the mobile Messenger app, and will get notified instantly about your message.

New FB App 1

Message your contacts

What about the people you text with who aren’t your Facebook friends? Now you just need a contact’s phone number to begin texting others using Messenger. To help people reach you, you’ll be asked to confirm your phone number.

New FB App 2

The new look

With a fresh, new look, Messenger is easier to get around. Tap across the top of the app or swipe left and right to see recent conversations, a list of the people you message, and settings.

New FB App 3

It is obvious that a lot of thought went into this major overhaul to make it more attractive and less “Facebook like.”  You no longer need to be a Facebook friend to message, as long as you know their phone number.  There are also status indicators so you know who is currently available to get an instant message. The new app will begin rolling out to a limited number of users today and a wider release in the upcoming weeks.  Let us know in the comments or on Google+ if you currently use Facebook as your messaging service or if this new update will entice you to switch from your current messaging application – what is your favorite way to communicate with your friends.