Facebook has today updated it’s Facebook Messenger app, the app that saw the social network break its instant messaging feature out into a completely separate app on mobile.
The update, which is available for both iOS and Android users, brings with it two main features that Facebook no doubt hopes will keep its icon on our home screens.
The first is a feature straight out of the competition’s play book. Once users update today, they’ll be able to send and receive 15-second video clips right inside the app itself, with no need to visit the ‘real’ Facebook app. Snapchat already does something very similar, but this implementation more closely resembles that of Apple, with video and audio clips coming to iOS 8. Facebook’s recent purchase, WhatsApp, is also set to receive full-blown voice calling in-app, though that’s obviously well beyond what has been implemented here.
The second new feature is the ability to tap and hold on something to send a ‘big like,’ which is sort of the normal Facebook ‘like’ but, well, for something that you like so much a normal ‘like’ just won’t cut it. We’re far from sure about that one, and suspect that Facebook isn’t convinced either. After all, it chose Messenger as the place to introduce this particular feature rather than Facebook proper. We either expect ‘big likes’ to go away completely or start to move into the other Facebook apps depending on uptake.
Facebook is still getting flack for moving messages out of the main Facebook app and into its own, bespoke application. The company has already said that it intends to break itself into smaller pieces rather than try and cram everything into the one app, and that appears to be a trend amongst Silicon Valley companies right now. Foursquare has also started to split its service into two distinct apps, with somewhat limited success. Facebook may fare better.
The new Facebook Messenger update is available to download from the App Store and the Play Store, as always, is completely free.