We've known this was coming for a few months now, but the end of chatting on the main Facebook app is nigh.
The company is urging users who have not yet downloaded the standalone Facebook Messenger app that they need to do so – soon. Users are being prompted to install the app when they try to access their messages in the main Facebook app, with a furry little creature holding a stopwatch and a phone with a Messenger logo saying,
"Hi, we're moving messages. Soon they'll be in our other app Messenger. You'll be able to do more, like take selfies and videos right in the app."
Currently, Facebook isn't forcing users to download Messenger to chat, but that stage is coming soon. Right now it's just a strong suggestion.
Facebook provided this statement to TechCrunch:
In the next few days, we’re continuing to notify more people that if they want to send and receive Facebook messages, they’ll need to download the Messenger app. As we’ve said, our goal is to focus development efforts on making Messenger the best mobile messaging experience possible and avoid the confusion of having separate Facebook mobile messaging experiences. Messenger is used by more than 200 million people every month, and we’ll keep working to make it an even more engaging way to connect with people.”
"Messenger is much faster," says Facebook in the notice users are now seeing. You'll get new messages instantly and can reply right away. In fact, we've found that people reply about 20 percent faster on Messenger than on Facebook. So as your friends start using Messenger, you'll probably notice them getting back to you sooner."
Faster or not, this great unbundling is likely to annoy a good chunk of users.
Of course, nobody likes having to download a separate app to do the same thing they used to be able to do in another – just ask Foursquare. But once you have Facebook Messenger installed, Facebook really does make the transition from app to app so smooth that you probably won't even notice. The "messages" tab on your main Facebook app is simply replaced with a shortcut to the Messenger app, and there's a "go back to Facebook" banner at the top of the Messenger app. It's relatively seamless.
Still, expect some disgruntled reactions when Facebook actually removes all chat functionality from the main app. And that should be any day now.