Facebook’s annual F8 developers conference kicked off today with news that a desktop Messenger app is in the works, but we’ve now learned details of what the company has in store for the mobile messaging app which is getting rebuilt for speed and small memory footprint.
After getting a visual makeover last October with simplified navigation and a new Dark Mode option, Messenger for iOS will now be getting something folks have been asking for—a complete rewrite to make it agile, faster to launch and not as memory-hungry as it is now.
A faster, lighter Messenger
Concretely, the team is cutting the size of the installed app from about a hundred megabytes down to less than thirty megabytes (the iOS installer is currently a circa 247-megabyte download, depending on your specific iOS device model). The goal for the optimized app, developed under the code-name Project LightSpeed: launch in less than two seconds because “people expect their messaging apps to be fast and reliable.”
The social network has reiterated its commitment to make Messenger end-to-end encrypted by default, like Apple’s iMessage. When the update hits Messenger and WhatsApp, Facebook said, more than two billion of its customers will be using encrypted messaging.
Aside from a faster, lighter app, Messenger is getting two new major features—a new way to watch videos together with other people and better ways to connect with close friends.
A new way to watch videos together
You’ll be able to quickly share a video from the Facebook app on Messenger and invite others to watch together, in real time, even while messaging or on a video chat. The feature is currently in testing and should launch globally later this year.
In addition to collaborative video watching, the Messenger app is gaining better ways to help you connect with your closest friends, as detailed further below.
Connecting with close friends
Messenger fans will be getting a dedicated virtual lounge within the app to server as a private sharing space for content such as images, videos, Stories and what not. According to the keynote, content from people you follow on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp will appear within Messenger’s new Friends tab (excluding content from brands and public figures).
“You’ll also be able to share snippets from your own day and can choose exactly who sees what you post,” says the firm. This feature will also launch later this year.
An appointment experience
But that’s not all. In addition to the aforementioned user-facing feature additions, the social network behemoth has unveiled some interesting capabilities that will appeal to small businesses who use Messenger as a point of contact with clients.
To boost customer acquisition, businesses can now use lead generation templates in Ads Manager to create ads that drive users to simple questionnaires in Messenger, which lets them learn more about customers and their habits.
And to make it easier to book an appointment with businesses like car dealerships, hair stylists, beauty salons, cleaning services and the like, the Messenger team has created an appointment experience, as depicted right above.
How do you like these new features coming to the mobile Messenger app?
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