If WhatsApp and other instant messaging services weren’t scared of Facebook’s Messenger before, they should be now. The company just rolled out an update to its messaging app that makes it much more competitive.

Messenger 1.8 hit the App Store today, with a handful of new features and UI tweaks in tow. Headlining the additions are a new online buddy list, and revamped push notifications. Keep reading for the full change log…

  • Quickly switch between multiple conversations with in-app notifications
  • Include friends of friends in conversations
  • Swipe to delete individual messages from conversations
  • See who’s available when you start a new conversation
  • Share bigger photos, tap for full screen and pinch to zoom
  • Faster app loading, navigating and sending
  • More-reliable push notifications
  • Bug fixes

On top of these new features, Messenger has another big advantage over the other IM platforms: it has nearly a billion active members. That’s way more (hundreds of millions more) than other cross-device IM services like WhatsApp and Kik.

If you want to try out the new Facebook Messenger, you can grab it from the App Store, for free.

Do you use Facebook Messenger? What do you think of the update?

  • They should make it compatible with the iPad..i’ having a lot of trouble chatting on facebook on my iPad!

    • If your jailbroken, you can use retina pad or full force

      • I tried that once on my friend’s ipad..well,it sucked!

    • the facebook app for ipad is terrible, a big update is needed

  • FB messaging doesn’t even WORK on my iPhone, and that’s been across several different OS versions.

    • marcin slaczka

      FB Messaging doesnt work for me either… I wish it were more integrated too

  • i dont get it.. why dont they put this all into their actual fb app? why make a separate app for these new features? anybody?

    • It is better to have a different mobile app for messenger. Suppose you wish to send message or chat with your friend, instead of opening the FB application and then browsing to the messages, you can directly access your messages using messenger app.

    • Aric Bolf

      For me, it’s really nice to have them be separate for one huge reason…I don’t allow the facebook app to post notifications but i do allow the messenger app. I am not interested in seeing my phone light up every 30 seconds every time someone interacts with me on facebook (what a battery killer), however it is quite important to know of all messages sent.

  • CamSince89

    I have an iPhone4 and it works pretty well for me. The statement of improved pushed notifications is nice because I’ve had problems being alerted a few times.

    My girlfriend and I have been chatting using FB Messenger instead of text messages for the past week now. We both wanted a way of seeing when we’ve read each others messages because either her phone tends to malfunction when sending text messages or we get busy and don’t know if the text has been read. With her having an Android phone we obviously can’t use iMessage so I proposed to use FB Messenger. FB Messenger allows read receipts as well as chatting with multiple devices.

    We love it.

  • It doesn’t seem all that different from the last version.