Facebook has just announced the release of Facebook Messenger, a new application for Android devices that aims to simplify and quicken the exchange of messages between you and Facebook friends or individuals in your phone’s contact list.
Facebook Messenger is essentially an alternative SMS application that attempts to differentiate itself by adding integration with the largest social network on the planet. If you happen to be messaging a Facebook friend, all your interactions with that person on Facebook such as texts, chats, email and messages will be featured in the conversation history. Moreover, when you send messages to your Facebook friends, it will both send a notification and text message to the other user to ensure they receive the message as quickly as possible.
Top features include:
- Message friends, groups of friends or anyone in your mobile contacts
- Map your location, find your friends and make plans on the go
- Get mobile notifications so you never miss a message
- Include photos so friends can see what you’re doing
Facebook is highlighting how easily their new application allows you to send group messages, a feature that has been available in Android’s stock messaging since I’ve been using Android at least–probably dating back to the G1. One cool addition to the group messaging functionality is the ability to share your location with the group, so it’s easier to track everyone down. It’s especially helpful when having group events.
All in all, it’s hard for me to see the real differentiating factor here. Unless I’m missing something, most (if not all) these features can be achieved with a combination of the Facebook for Android application (which already notifies you when you have a new incoming message), and the stock messaging application.
But I’m certainly no expert when it comes to Facebook, so I turn to you, the reader. Are you planning to install the Facebook Messaging application when it launches later today? Either as a replacement for or supplement to the stock messaging application? Are you happy to stick to Facebook for Android and the stock messaging app for all your SMS needs? Or have you given up on Facebook altogether and migrated to Google+? Sound off in the comments below.
Regardless of how you feel about this new application, I’m sure many of you will head over to the market and check it out. We’ll update this post once we notice it’s gone live, which should be a bit later on today.