As part of its continuing effort to focus on user-experience and force the majority of mobile users of its service to download and install the official Messenger app, Facebook has reiterated the fact that the built-in chat and messaging functionality will soon disappear from the main Facebook app. The Palo Alto based social network has plied significant resources into developing and improving the Facebook mobile experience over the last twenty-four months, with the standalone Facebook Messenger app spearheading that internal initiative. Over the next few days users who still have access to the chat functionality within the main Facebook app will be receiving notifications to warn them of the impending change.
As part of an official statement issued to TechCrunch, Facebook has not only confirmed the changes but also provided a little insight into why the amendment is so important to its strategy to keep users happy going forward:
In the next few days, we’re continuing to notify more people that if they want to send and receive Facebook messages, they’ll need to download the Messenger app. As we’ve said, our goal is to focus development efforts on making Messenger the best mobile messaging experience possible and avoid the confusion of having separate Facebook mobile messaging experiences. Messenger is used by more than 200 million people every month, and we’ll keep working to make it an even more engaging way to connect with people.
It seems relatively straightforward; rather than provide a fragmented messaging experience across two applications, and therefore two internal codebases, Facebook is looking to unify that all-important direct messaging route into the very simple but extremely powerful native Messenger app. A lot of the network’s regular mobile users have already been forced to make the change to Messenger as the main Facebook app has already removed the chatting functionality. However, with only 200 million users regularly accessing Messenger it seems that there is still significant work to be done before the plug can be pulled.
This announcement probably won’t have much of an impact on European Facebook account holders who have already been forced to make the change. With that said, those based further and in the United States should start to ready themselves for the “we’ve moved over to Messenger” notification that awaits. Worry not as Facebook Messenger is not only provided as an entirely free-of-charge download from the App Store, but also comes with a number of powerful additional features that haven’t been available through the Facebook app.