Facebook has announced a new mobile app called Messenger. The app, which the company says will be available today for iPhone and Android, is a standalone app - separate from Facebook's regular mobile app.
It would appear that the app is a product of the company's acquisition of group messaging app Beluga, as Beluga co-founder and Facebook engineer Lucy Zhang is the one that introduced the product on the Facebook Blog.
"Messenger is a separate app, so it only takes one click to get to your messages or send a new one. Messages are delivered through notifications and texts, so your friends are more likely to get them right away," she explains. "You can use Messenger to reach all of your friends -- whether they're on Facebook or in your phone contacts. All you have to do is type the person's name."
The app is extension of the Facebook messages system, which groups various types of conversations into a single inbox - you know - that big announcement Facebook made last year with the email addresses and everything.
It also includes group chat, of course, which was Beluga's specialty.
"When you're on the go, coordinating a bunch of people can be tricky, especially if plans change at the last minute. With Messenger, you can quickly start a group conversation and message everyone at once," says Zhang. "If you choose to add your location, the people you're messaging with can easily find each other on the map. You can also attach photos, so everyone else can see and comment on what you're looking at."
Even if you don't use a smartphone, you can reply to messages sent using Messenger by confirming your phone number.