Facebook has just released a new messaging app for the iPhone called Facebook Messenger in the App Store.
It is a little intriguing that Facebook decided to launch a standalone app for messaging instead of integrating it with Facebook for iPhone app. We wonder if it has anything to do with Apple launching iMessage – its new messaging service that comes bundled with iOS 5 that will be released later this fall.
Here’s a brief description of the iPhone app from the App Store:
Facebook Messenger is a faster way to message. Reach friends right on their phones, get and send messages fast, message everyone at once and more.
Facebook Messenger includes the following top features:
- Message friends, groups of friends or anyone in your mobile contacts
- Map your location, find your friends and make plans on the go
- Get mobile notifications so you never miss a message
- Include photos so friends can see what you’re doing
You can checkout the screenshots of the iPhone app below:
You can download it for free from the App Store using this iTunes link.
It looks like Facebook Messenger is currently available only in the U.S. Readers KL, Dee and Lim via email (thanks guys) have pointed out the app is not yet available in Denmark, UK and Singpore respectively. We’re not sure if it is restricted only to U.S. or the app is currently in the process of being rolled out in other App Stores, but when you try to download it from App Store other than U.S., you get an error message saying “The item you’ve requested is currently not available in the UK App Store, but is available in the U.S. App Store”.
Lucy Zhang, Beluga Co-founder and Facebook Engineer has provided some more information on how the app works and the reason for launching a standalone messaging app on their blog:
Messenger is a separate app, so it only takes one click to get to your messages or send a new one. Messages are delivered through notifications and texts, so your friends are more likely to get them right away.
You can use Messenger to reach all of your friends — whether they’re on Facebook or in your phone contacts. All you have to do is type the person’s name.
The Messenger app is an extension of Facebook messages, so all your conversations are in one place, including your texts, chats, emails and messages. Whether you’re on your phone or on the web, you can see the full history of all your messages.
Make plans with groups
When you’re on the go, coordinating a bunch of people can be tricky, especially if plans change at the last minute. With Messenger, you can quickly start a group conversation and message everyone at once.
If you choose to add your location, the people you’re messaging with can easily find each other on the map. You can also attach photos, so everyone else can see and comment on what you’re looking at.
Zhang hasn’t mentioned anything about the app being limited to the US App Store only, so it should be available in your countries App Store eventually. So do let us know if you can download the app and from which country for the benefit of fellow readers.
As always, please drop us a line to tell us what you think of Facebook Messenger in the comments section below.
Hat tip to TechCrunch!