I can bet that you are a Facebook user – and a user of Facebook through a phone . In particular, I bet you use the renowned Facebook App for iOS, Android or Windows; depending on the smartphone you are using.
If you are one of the many who use Facebook App, then you have only one week to install Facebook Messenger as in two weeks or so, Facebook will not allow you to send or receive messages/chats via the normal Facebook App. No, you won’t have a choice even if you are one of those, like me, who have installed and un-installed the resource hungry messenger every now and then.
From a few days ago, Facebook has been sending a soft warning to users that soon messages won’t be accessed via the standard App. Here is part of the warning Facebook has sent out regarding messages away from the main Facebook App:
Messages are moving out of the Facebook app and over to the Messenger app, so now we’ll be asking people to install Messenger and start sending messages from there instead.
If you want to read more about the warning, head to your Facebook App, open it up, and go straight to your message center. You will probably be greeted by the message, “Install Messenger” and somewhere you’ll see a link written “Learn More”. Click on that link. If you are not able to see it, at the bottom of the messaging center you can still see a notification to install messenger and beside it, on the right, you’ll the see the link “Learn More”.
Facebook has given a few reasons for the change namely:
- Messages sent via Facebook Messenger are received instantly
- People on Messenger reply about 20% faster
- Video and photo sharing on messenger is easier
Other additional benefits as listed on Facebook Messenger’s App link on Google Play Store are:
- Instantly reach the people in your life—for free. Messenger is just like texting, but you don’t have to pay for every message (it works with your data plan).
- Not just for Facebook friends: Message people in your phone book and just enter a phone number to add a new contact.
- Group chats: Create groups for the people you message most. Name them, set group photos and keep them all in one place.
- Photos and videos: Shoot videos and snap selfies or other photos right from the app and send them with one tap.
- Chat heads: Keep the conversation going while you use other apps.
- Free calls: Talk as long as you want, even with people in other countries. (Calls are free over Wi-Fi. Otherwise, standard data charges apply.)
They even have these other benefits they call extra features:
- Know when people have seen your messages – this is available even in the standard app’s inbox.
- Forward messages or photos to people who weren’t in the conversation.
- Search for people and groups to quickly get back to them.
- Turn on location to let people know when you’re nearby – this too is available in the standard app.
- See who’s available on Messenger and who’s active on Facebook
- Create shortcuts to get to any conversation right from your home screen.
- Turn off notifications when you’re working, sleeping or just need a break.
- Stay logged in so you never miss a message.
It is obvious that there are a number of benefits Facebook offers through the Facebook Messenger App, which, for one reason or another, are missing in the standard Facebook App.
But not everyone will be happy with this forced installation of Facebook messenger. Firstly, installing Facebook Messenger means you will add another messenger that continuously run in the background to consume both data and battery. Secondly, Facebook messenger is a resource hungry App that will really aid in draining your battery faster and possibly make your phone to hung every so often as besides being a CPU over loader, it actually eats up a huge portion of RAM.
Lastly, from next week henceforth, you will be required to toggle between two Apps to use Facebook. That is, you are reading a status update from one of your close friends and you realize you should send them an inbox. Right now you just go to Inbox, head to their previous messages, and send them a message and probably receive a reply in few seconds. But after next week, you will be required to open up a second app in order to send that urgent inbox.
An explanation to Techcrunch on the need to force Facebook users to install Facebook Messenger reads:
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.
Well, for those like us who are not happy with the announcement, there will be nothing really we can do but to click on this link, download, and install Facebook Messenger as demanded by Mark and his team.
Facebook and WhatsApp should stop being competitors
By now you are well aware that WhatsApp is a Facebook property, not bought for a few hundred dollars but paid for at the value of Shs 1.6 trillion – then left to run as it had always run. Although the main reason for leaving WhatsApp alone even after the acquisition is that Facebook did not or still doesn’t want to interfere with WhatsApp experience, the so many advantages that are being talked of about Facebook Messenger are already being offered by WhatsApp.
For example, messages via WhatsApp are quicker than instant. Last weekend I sent a video link to a friend who was seated across the table via WhatsApp. Just after pressing “Send” and as I looked up to ask the friend if he had received the link, he was already on the video watching – it almost felt like the friend had received the link moments before I sent it.
Sharing videos and photos are not only easy but also fun. One can group chat, and soon WhatsApp will allow us to make those VoIP calls that the messenger is boasting of. All these capabilities are possible yet WhatsApp is light (resource usage wise) and feels very user friendly. The only thing that is missing is the ability to chat with Facebook friends.
It is therefore necessary, instead of Facebook investing resources in maintaining a separate messaging App, for Facebook to once and for all integrate the Facebook Messenger with WhatsApp – and combine all the benefits both messaging platforms are offering or intend to offer.
It won’t be a difficult task really. About two or so years back Microsoft bought Skype. Then Facebook and Microsoft started loving one another…and that love culminated with Skype introducing an update that allowed Skype users to link to their Facebook so that they could chat with their Facebook friends within Skype. Similar plugin was adopted by Yahoo earlier and nowadays one can chat with their Facebook friends within Yahoo email.
What is so difficult with allowing WhatsApp users to chat with Facebook friends within WhatsApp? Even other chat platforms that are not related to/with Facebook at all including imo, Nimbazz, and 2Go that allow chats with Skype, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, etc also allow users to chat with Facebook friends. After all, as of April this year, WhatsApp had reached 500 million monthly active users yet Facebook Messenger, despite having a pool of 1.3 billion total active Facebook users, has only 200 million active monthly users.
Someone might argue that merging Facebook Messenger with WhatsApp will kill WhatsApp but remember, Facebook cannot kill WhatsApp.