Facebook is bringing back Messenger into main app

Science

12 Apr 2019

Soon, Facebook might allow sending messages without installing Messenger

More than five years ago, Mark Zuckerberg took the major step of separating messaging from the main Facebook app. He launched 'Messenger', a separate app that had to be installed to keep in touch with friends.

The service has over a billion users today, but a recently unearthed piece of evidence suggests it might be coming back into the Facebook app.

Here's why.

Discovery

Integrated 'Chats' section spotted in testing

Integrated 'Chats' section spotted in testing

Just recently, popular reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong spotted a new 'Chats' section integrated with the Facebook app.

The section listed messages from previous conversations and opened from the same button that currently takes us to the standalone Messenger app.

Now, this kind of integration is exactly how Facebook messaging used to work before the entry of Messenger in 2014.

Chats section listed messages, but lacked popular features

The Chats section, as Wong described, listed her previous Facebook messages but only with basic functionalities of seeing and replying to messages. There were no popular 'Messenger-specific' capabilities, like the option to send message reactions, share photo/video, or to make a call.

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Here's what the new section could look like

Reason

So, why Facebook is taking this U-turn?

The integration, which still appears to be in the early testing stage, would allow users to message their Facebook friends without installing Messenger.

Now, this looks like a clear U-turn, but Wong indicates it could be the social network's way of laying the groundwork for the integration of Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram DM - a move that would enable cross-platform messaging between services.

Comment

No comment from Facebook yet

No comment from Facebook yet

So far, Facebook has not commented on the development or the testing of the new section.

Still, Wong believes that the introduction of this feature, whenever it may be, won't mark the end of Messenger.

She believes the product serves a different market and will be retained, perhaps to offer access to advanced messaging features missing in the chats section.

Merger

When Facebook plans to merge its messaging services?

Facebook announced the plan to merge the underlying infrastructure of Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram DMs back in January.

The apps will work separately but share the same architecture and features like end-to-end encryption.

So far, reports have indicated that thousands of developers are working on the mission, which may be completed by the end of 2019 or in early 2020.

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