Facebook has unveiled Facebook Messenger, an Android and iPhone app dedicated to sending messages and texts through the world’s largest social network.
The mobile app, which is now available in the Android Marketplace and iOS App Store, is the direct result of its March acquisition of group messaging app Beluga. Facebook Messenger is the first mobile application the company has developed and released outside of its official Facebook app.
“It’s a mobile app about real-time communication,” Beluga co-founder and Facebook engineer Ben Davenport told Mashable. All messages are sent and received in real time — no refreshing required.
The app, much like Beluga, is simple and straightforward. Once users log into Messenger with their Facebook credentials, they’re taken to a screen with all of their recent Facebook chats and messages. Users can jump into any of their past conversations or create a new one. Messages can either be sent via Facebook Messenger or via SMS.
Users can also send photos to their friends with the app. It also lets you give message threads a name, for easier organization.
One of the key elements of Messenger is its alert system. Users can choose to receive alerts for new messages, or they can turn them off. They can also delay alerts for an hour or until 8:00 a.m. the next day. The alert settings can be tailored for individual message threads or for all messages through Messenger.
Facebook admits its official mobile app will eventually have all of Messenger’s functionality, but the company believes that having an app dedicated to quick messaging on the Facebook platform is something that will benefit its millions of mobile users. And it could give other group messaging apps like GroupMe a run for their money.
Check out the screenshots of the iOS and Android apps below, and let us know what you think of Messenger.
Login Screen: iPhone
This is the Messenger login screen for the iPhone App.
Login Screen: Android
This is the Messenger login screen for the Android App.
Finding Friends: iPhone
The Facebook Messenger app finds your friends as you type.
Finding Friends: Android
It's much like tagging friends on Facebook.
Sending a Message: iPhone
The interface is much like the texting interface on the iPhone.
Sending a Message: Android
Even the Android app sports the iOS-like interface.
Threaded Messages with Photos: iPhone
Users can send photos in their messages. They will appear threaded within the conversation.
Threaded Messages with Photos: Android
They will appear threaded within the conversation.
Map View: iPhone
The Map View lets you see where everybody in a message is located.
Map View: Android
You can choose not to attach a location to your messages if you wish, though.
Individual Map: iPhone
If you go to a user's single message, you can see exactly where he or she is located.
Individual Map: Android
Both the iOS and Android version integrate with Google Maps.
Messages View: iPhone
Since the app is integrated with Facebook, all of your messages will appear in this view, regardless of where the messages originated.
Messages View: Android
The blue dot indicates that you have an unread message.