LATEST MESSENGER UPDATE BRINGS NEW FEATURES AND CROSS-APP COMMUNICATION WITH INSTAGRAM
Facebook Messenger is getting a visual update and a number of new features, including support for chat themes, personalized reactions. Soon, selfie stickers and disappear mode. The changes are part of Facebook’s revamped messaging platform, announced in late September. Which allowed Instagram users to communicate with people on Facebook for the first time.
While Instagram users had to opt into the new upgraded feature set to also access cross-platform communication capabilities, Messenger users don’t have to make a similar choice.
Instead, Facebook is announcing this morning that cross-app communication with Instagram will soon roll out to users across North America (at the time of the Instagram announcement, Facebook had not yet confirmed which markets would receive the update first).
Messenger users also don’t need to take any action to get the new feature set. These will also be rolled out automatically to users. As they become available in the user’s region.
Visually, one notable change – meant to reflect Messenger’s cross-platform messaging capabilities – is the updated Messenger logo. It now looks more sequel, with shades of blue, purple and pink, instead of Facebook blue.
MESSENGER’S DEFAULT CHAT COLOR WILL ALSO BE CHANGED TO MATCH THE NEW STYLE.
New chat themes, including love and tie-dye, will also start rolling out to users. As well as personalized reactions. Which allow you to react with a variety of emoji instead of the standard set offered today.
Other features should arrive “soon” afterwards. Most notably selfie stickers, which allow you to decorate your own photo to use a sticker, and a disappearance mode to make discussions disappear.
These are also the same features that Instagram users received in their last update. Before today. Messenger had received a number of new features. Most recently including the ability to co-watch videos with friends and family in Messenger or Messenger Rooms.
Facebook’s decision to lock users into a new messaging platform with cross-application communication capabilities. Will make it harder for users to switch to other competing messaging apps. After all, why bother when one app can reach two of the biggest social networks. (And one day, perhaps, it will also integrate WhatsApp.)
It will also make it harder for Facebook to unwind its separate businesses, if regulators require it in the future. Today’s announcement follows last week’s antitrust report issued by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Which recommended that Congress consider a number of potential remedies to Facebook’s monopoly power. Including splitting off parts of its business, in one solution. However, regulators may focus more on how Facebook acquires competitors. To gain an advantage, rather than on how it operates its existing apps today, like Instagram and Messenger.