Facebook has announced a new app called Messenger for iPhone and Android devices that will give chat a bunch of new functions in a dedicated user interface. Messenger pulls in all of your local and Facebook contacts into one list, and also puts all of your Facebook messages, chats, texts, and e-mails under one roof. Group chat is also supported, along with location data and picture sharing – all great things when you’re at a big event.
Traditionally, Facebook chat has been folded in to the core app, alongside the usual Facebook stuff like checking news feeds, updating your status, and sharing pictures. Pulling out messaging into its own dedicated app that appropriates some of the core activities like e-mail and texting strikes me as a smart way to get people to use Facebook chat and messages regularly. I’ve definitely found myself using it more often since the feature landed in the BlackBerry application. If Facebook wanted to be cheeky and step on BBM’s toes, they could include typing, read, and received notifications along with each individual chat message.
The Facebook Messenger app should be going live today in the Android Market and iOS App Store. Keep your eyes peeled!