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Facebook wants to fix one more thing: Messenger

Published Jan 17th, 2018 7:15AM EST
Facebook Messenger New Features

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Ever since Facebook turned Messenger into a standalone app a few years ago, the company started piling up new feature after new feature on top of the basic tricks you’d expect from a mobile chat app. Some of those improvements are welcomed additions, including video chat support and rich emoji experiences. Others, aren’t that great, especially the ad spam that you may have noticed recently.

Facebook now thinks that Messenger is sort of broken too, and just promised it’ll fix it soon. That’s the second thing Facebook wants to fix after, well, Facebook.

In a lengthy post, Facebook’s David Marcus explained what’s coming to the chat app this year.

The best thing you can expect from Messenger this year is less clutter. Hopefully, Facebook will be able to deliver it, that is:

Over the last two years, we built a lot of capabilities to find the features that continue to set us apart. A lot of them have found their product market fit; some haven’t. While we raced to build these new features, the app became too cluttered. Expect to see us invest in massively simplifying and streamlining Messenger this year.

Facebook didn’t quite explain what’s going away, but it did highlight other Messenger improvements — let’s hope that doesn’t mean more bloatware.

One of the major concerns for Facebook represents real-time communications, which may include Safety Check prompts delivered via Messenger rather than Facebook:

No one wants to miss a special moment, but real-time communication is what connects us in times of crisis too… and we, unfortunately, saw more than our share of that last year.

Facebook also wants users to do more together, hinting that group chats will be improved both when it comes to online and offline experiences:

There are many ways we can make groups better. Identity is built in – it’s all about people, not phone numbers. Blazing fast ways to share photos and videos – incidentally our photo quality is better than ever (4k!) – plus ways to upgrade group chat into live video group chat.

The upcoming Messenger experience is also supposed to be more visual than ever, whether it’s personal chats, business conversations, or the recently announced Messenger Kids:

Not only will you see more from Messenger in visual messaging this year, but this is where the industry is heading, and we won’t be looking back.

Facebook also plans to improve the way it makes money from Messenger, and the company announced new business-related initiatives. One of them concerns improving customer service and customer care experiences through Messenger:

Calling a business ranks pretty high up on the list of things we don’t want to do on any given day. But as messaging becomes more popular as an additional channel for immediate, personal customer service, the expectations and experiences have started to meet in the middle – introducing messaging as a true Customer Care channel.

We’ll just have to wait and see if Facebook can turn the overall Messenger experience into the “easiest and most delightful way for people to spend time together in happy and harder times.” It’s unclear when these new Facebook Messenger features will be rolled out, however, so we’ll have to wait for future announcements from Facebook.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.