Facebook Messenger for Android is getting a major update today which brings back SMS support.
If you're experiencing déjà vu, it's because Facebook Messenger did support SMS several years ago, but the feature was removed because no one was using it. Hopefully Facebook nailed SMS integration this time so users will find it actually useful.
"A lot of Android texting apps didn't keep up with the evolution of messaging, so we felt like we truly had to make Messenger the best SMS client for Android," says Facebook Messenger lead David Marcus.
What's different this time around is that Android users will be able to send voice clips, stickers and locations via text. Previously, these features required both parties to have Facebook Messenger installed. While all users will be able to receive SMS messages sent from Facebook Messenger for Android, they won't be able to send back any stickers, voice messages or locations unless they're also using Facebook Messenger.
Google Hangouts also supports SMS, but does it in a more integrated way. Hangouts allows users to combine their SMS and Hangouts chats into one unified thread. Facebook Messenger, however, separates SMS and Messenger conversations. SMS conversations are colored purple, while Messenger conversations are blue. This is similar to Apple's iMessage app which shows SMS in green and iMessages in blue.
Facebook hopes users will stick with Messenger for all their chat needs by adding more and more features. On top of support for SMS, Facebook Messenger also features chatbots that can help you perform tasks like ordering food or getting a ride. Facebook also removed chat functionality from its mobile website, forcing users to download the Messenger app to continue chatting with friends.
The Messenger update is rolling out to Android users in "most countries" starting today so check the Play Store to see if you have it.
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