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?