World's largest social networking website Facebook announced on Tuesday a revamped version of its mobile messaging app in a move that will add billion users to its network.
The new app, which is initially developed for Android phones, is now available in some countries like India, Indonesia, Australia, Argentina, Venezuela, and South Africa. The company's latest rollout will enable Android users to send text, photos or any other content without signing up for a Facebook account.
"Starting today, you can create a Messenger account with just your name and phone number, and start messaging your mobile contacts," the company statement read. "Just install the app and tap Get Started to reach your contacts faster, start group conversations, share photos and more."
People can sign up using just their mobile numbers and names and can then send messages to both Facebook users and non-Facebook users. "We're doing this because we're serious about messaging and realize that limiting the reach to just those on Facebook limits the ability for people to reach anyone in their address book," the Menlo Park Company added.
The new app is expected to come to Apple's iPhone platform in the future. The company has plans to expand the app to other countries as well.
Is this a move to dethrone SMS?
Facebook unveiled the app a day after the text messaging service celebrated its 20th anniversary. The latest launch appears to be a move to dethrone SMS in the technology realm. Many believe that the humble text messaging is losing its ground due to the heavy interference of messenger services like WhatsApps and Facebook messenger. However, today's move from Facebook will certainly drive many more users to its network which will in turn have an impact on SMS service. Facebook was recently rumored to buy WhatsApps but later denied the reports of the aquisition.
Text messaging is "limited to 160 characters, and it's not at all rich in its expression. People want to connect deeply with each other, and they don't want to be constrained by various technical boundaries and decisions made 20 years ago," said Peter Deng, the Facebook employee in charge of the messenger app to The New York Times.