Facebook's plans to become an empire of mobile apps got a little more interesting today as the company began notifying users in a few European countries that in two weeks, they won't be able to message friends through the Facebook app anymore. They'll need to download Messenger for iOS or Android to do so, the company's popular chat app. The messages button will remain in the Facebook app, but will boot users out to Messenger when tapped.
Finding a place for one more app could be annoying for some users
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that stripping Messenger out of the main Facebook app is not a test, and will at some point in the near future happen in every country. There are a few exceptions to the new rule, however. First, lower-end Android devices with memory constraints won't be required to download Messenger. Second, Windows Phone and tablet users will still see messages inside their Facebook apps. Third, messaging will remain, for now, inside Paper, the company's recently launched news app. We would assume that Facebook will at some point update the aforementioned apps to remove messaging — perhaps if and when Messenger is launched for tablets.
Chatting in Messenger is a far better experience than in Facebook's main app, but some users might be disappointed by the fact that they now need two Facebook apps instead of one. In an age where home screen real estate value is at its peak, finding a place for one more app could be annoying. But, as Facebook divorces Messenger from its primary experience, it will likely be able to add many more features, like free calling, which the company recently rolled out to Messenger. It might also mean that Facebook will shrink the size of its main app, making it work faster and at the very least clearing up a few MB's on your device. "Once the while process is complete, we expect the core apps to be faster," said the spokesperson.
Even after its acquisition of WhatsApp for over $15 billion, it's more obvious than ever that Facebook is committed to its messaging game plan. It makes sense given the fact that Messenger excels in some countries where WhatsApp does not.