Facebook announced today that it’s starting to roll out a “faster, smaller, and simpler” version of Messenger on iOS. Facebook says the new version of the app will load twice as fast and be one-fourth the size. The update is now rolling out on iOS devices via the Apple App Store and you are supposed to getting the update “over the next few weeks.”
In a Facebook post, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that once you have the new version, Messenger should “feel much faster and more responsive compared to other apps you use.” If the speed changes pan out as Facebook promises, they could be nice — if you’re opening up the app multiple times a day to chat with friends, every second you don’t have to spend waiting to chat should feel like an improvement. To pull off the redesign, Facebook said.
“We reduced Messenger’s core code by 84% — going from more than 1.7 million lines of code to 360,000 — and we rebuilt our features to fit a new, simplified infrastructure,” says Facebook. Lesser lines of code make an app faster, more responsive and less resource-intensive. The Discover tab has been stripped out, and that is one of the most visible changes the app has received.
There has been a constant expectation for a while now that Facebook will integrate the messaging experience across its three apps—Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram which is pushing the Direct messaging extensively.
But what does that mean? Will Facebook merge the functionality of all three in one app? Actually, no. At the F8 conference last year, head of consumer product for Messenger, Asha Sharma had said as much. The way Facebook envisions integration is allowing users of either app to send and receive messages from a friend or contact who may be on any of the other two apps. It doesn’t matter which, and either party won’t know the specifics either, but they’ll be able to have a seamless conversation, nonetheless. You on WhatsApp will be able to send a message to a contact who may instead receive it and reply to using Messenger or Instagram.
It would be unjustified to ask Facebook to merge the WhatsApp and Messenger apps. WhatsApp has around 2 billion users globally while Facebook Messenger is second with more than 1.3 billion users.