Facebook Messenger for iOS and Android just hit version 1.8, bringing a few slick new features like fast conversation switching, swipe-to-delete for specific messages, and a built-in buddy list for who's "online" when you start a new conversation. The updates should roll out over the next hour or so, Facebook told us. The company also added larger photos to the app, as it has across all of its web and mobile products recently. Perhaps the most important new feature here is local notifications for chat updates, which along with read receipts and an online buddy list essentially turn Facebook Messenger into a full-blown instant messaging app. These real-time chat features pit the app up against other cross-platform chat apps like WhatsApp, which show which of your friends are online before you start talking to them.

Here's the full feature log, directly from Facebook:

  • Quickly switch between multiple conversations with in-app notifications (you'll get notified of an incoming message while within another conversation)
  • Include friends of friends in conversations
  • iOS users can now swipe to delete an individual messages from conversations. Android users can hold down a message to delete it.
  • See who's available when you start a new conversation — Update: in changelog, but from a prior version of Messenger
  • Share bigger photos (tap for full screen and pinch to zoom)
  • Bug fixes: fixed some bugs and improved performance (faster app loading, navigation and sending, and more reliable push notifications).