Facebook is really getting into this standalone apps thing. Facebook Creative Labs currently has eight apps available, and then there’s those Facebook has acquired like WhatsApp and Instagram.
Now, Facebook is unbundling Messenger. You might be thinking that they’ve already done that, and you’d be right. Last year, Facebook began requiring users to download a separate app to use the messaging functionality from their smartphones. Now, however, you don’t even have to have a Facebook account at all to use it.
Facebook software engineer Louis Boval said in a blog post on Wednesday, “With Messenger, we’ve been focused on creating the best messaging experience possible by giving people a fun and easy way to connect and express themselves with friends and contacts. If you’re in Canada, the United States, Peru or Venezuela, we are starting to roll out a new way for you to sign up for Messenger – without a Facebook account.”
“With this update, more people can enjoy all the features that are available on Messenger – including photos, videos, group chats, voice and video calling, stickers and more,” Boval added. “All you need is a phone number.”
While you no longer need to be a Facebook user to use Messenger, the company doesn’t exactly want you to delete your account to become a Messenger-only user. It notes that those who sign in with their Facebook accounts will have many benefits compared to those who don’t. For example, you can continue to easily message your Facebook friends and contacts, access their FB messages, and utilize multi-device messaging across devices, the web, and tablets.
Earlier this year, Facebook announced some significant expansions to Messenger, turning it into a platform and promising business features that will enable companies to better connect with their customers. Facebook clearly recognizes that businesses aren’t getting the job done in that department with their Facebook pages, as it’s also testing some features to help out there too.
Facebook also recently launched a web-based standalone version of Messenger, and Wednesday’s news suddenly makes that make a lot more sense.