If you use Facebook Messenger to keep in touch with family, friends, and random acquaintances you met on vacation six years ago, you’ll be seeing an update to the apps for Android and iOS appear over the next few weeks.
As reported by TechCrunch, chat bots are getting demoted in the app and the Discover page (showing deals, games and businesses) is going away entirely. The People tab will now focus around the Stories format Facebook pinched from Snapchat.
You’re going to be able to see which friends are currently active with a single tap from the People page, and the redesigned app strips down the available tabs to just to: People or Chat, which is where all your current conversations are.
In other words, the app is going to concentrate more on sharing stuff with your friends and less on other features like online shopping and playing games inside the app (areas that WeChat in China has flourished in).
Bots and businesses
After being tipped off about the update, TechCrunch got confirmation from Facebook that the update is now live for some users and will be rolling out to everyone else soon. The changes are in fact part of a gradual shift that’s been happening for months.
Chat bots, businesses and games can still be found in the new interface, but you need to deliberately look for them using the search bar at the top. You can also message businesses directly from their Facebook pages, as usual.
The battle to keep users inside one chat app or another continues, but Facebook of course owns another big player in the field in WhatsApp. Apple has its own iMessage, while Google is pushing people towards RCS messaging.
With the new changes to Facebook Messenger rolling out now, your chatting experience should be a lot more streamlined and easy to get around, and there’s always dark mode available if you need it.