Facebook has introduced a new Messenger app for iPhone and Android aimed at making sure your friends receive your correspondence with greater speed.
The new Messenger app, which will rival BlackBerry Messenger and Apple's forthcoming iMessage service, exists separately from the main Facebook app.
Messenger will allow users to contact both Facebook friends and phone contacts with the recipient receiving notifications and texts to inform them of your message.
Facebook thinks the service, which is yet to arrive on either platform's app store, will mean friends will see your messages sooner.
In a post on the company blog, Facebook engineer Lucy Zhang wrote: "It isn't always easy to know the best way to reach someone on their phone.
"Should you send an email or text? Which will they check first? Did they even get your last message?
"We think messaging should be easier than that. You should be able to write a message, click "Send" and know that you will reach the person right away.
"So today, we're introducing Messenger, a new mobile app that simplifies how messaging works, and gives you a faster way to message friends and small groups."
Good for groups
Facebook reckons the new solution will be perfect for users who are arranging to meet a group of friends and need to contact the group at short notice.
"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.
"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."
Facebook's service will have an instant advantage over BBM, iMessage and Google's Gtalk, thanks to its multi-platform compatibility. Users will be able to exchange free messages regardless of their mobile operating system.
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