Facebook Releases Messenger App for Staying Connected
For all its dominance on the Web, Facebook hasn't transitioned so well to the smartphone. To fix that, Facebook is releasing its first dedicated messaging app, called Facebook Messenger, which allows users to chat with friends, send photos and privately share their location through an iPhone or Android phone.
Facebook Messenger uses push notifications to interface with normal Facebook accounts, and it can send messages even to those without the app by sending them via SMS text or Facebook Chat (on the computer). It also incorporates the accounts message system for sending direct messages. In a sense, it can replace text messages, chat clients and email accounts, all with one app. Group chats are also possible.
Facebook Messenger can also share photos with friends and will share the user's current location with select recipients. Facebook imagines this feature will be useful for telling friends where you are if they want to meet up.
The app's design and functionality are similar to that of a group-messaging app, called Beluga, that Facebook acquired in March. The company incorporated that application into standard Facebook messaging systems and instantly had a full-fledged message app.
Facebook has an instant advantage over other messaging systems because its users already have most, if not all, of their contacts as Facebook friends. This means Facebook Messenger can completely replace other communication methods for many users.