Facebook has just released an update to its standalone messaging app, and the changes are significant. The app has been completely redesigned for both iOS and Android platforms and boasts many aesthetic and functionality changes as well.
Aside from the new look, the biggest change is the ability to message people who aren’t among your Facebook friends. This is contingent on whether you allow the app to access your phone number and/or contacts list; if you allow it, others will be able to message you directly, regardless of whether they are on your list of friends, and you’ll be able to do the same.
In addition to those features, the new app allows you to see which of your friends are currently online and using the Messenger app—and to send messages to any of them via their phone numbers. This is a huge deal for those who are on limited messaging plans and want to stay in touch via text messages.
While there are still a few privacy issues to work out with this new messaging app, I think it’s a good upgrade for Facebook users and a nice addition to your digital life if you want all the messaging capabilities of Facebook without all the other stuff like photos, news feeds, and so on.