Facebook Messenger is a messaging platform used to communicate on Facebook. Originally, Messenger was just Facebook Chat and was integrated into the website as a private messaging function. In 2010, Facebook started developing Messenger as a standalone app and the following year it was released for Android and iOS mobile devices. When the app was released, users were prompted to download it instead of accessing messages through the Facebook app, tapping on the Messenger icon would take you to the separate Messenger app. This frustrated a lot of users, who didn't see the necessity in having the app when the messaging function of the Facebook app met all the user needs of the time. Messenger is great for every type of user who has Facebook, from the casual user to someone who uses Facebook and its messaging service frequently. Messenger is updated consistently, adding new features to improve accessibility among other things.
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For the casual user, Messenger is a fun way to communicate with your Facebook friends.
You can chat with other Facebook users that aren't on your friends list as well after accepting access to the message. In the beginning, when Messenger was just Facebook chat, text chat was the only available way of chatting, and you could send pictures as well. Now, when tapping on the text box, you can add pictures from the camera roll, take pictures directly from the app using your device's camera, add gifs, send money, and have access to a number of different apps that you can use with the person that you're chatting with. You can share your location for 60 minute increments, play Facebook games, and set reminders.
Besides text chatting, you're able to record voice messages and send the recorded message to chats that you're having with other friends. There's a voice to text option as well if your friend can't listen to the message out loud. If you have a Pinterest account you can link it and send pins, or articles from well-known publishers like the Wall Street Journal. Like a message by tapping the thumbs up, or send emojis, stickers, and GIFs. Add more friends and create a group chat so everyone can join in on the fun at the same time.
Video chatting and calling are the most popular updates to the messenger. As long as you have internet access you can call a friend. Tapping on the phone icon opens up the call screen. You can do a regular voice call and toggle on the camera to turn on the video function. Access the text box while in the call by clicking on the text bubble, mute the microphone by clicking on the mic icon, and you can reverse the camera view from front facing to standard view. Take screenshots in the call that will save to your mobile device or tablet's camera roll. Now not only can you have text group chats, but you can have group voice and video calls too.
As for customization, you can change the color of the icons and the text bubbles. When you send messages, the color that you select shows up in your friend's chat as well. You can view friends' stories at the top of the app, sending messages and emojis for each clip, and you can add to your own story as well.
On an Android, Messenger takes up about 120 MB of storage while running. As you chat with more people and use more functions like sharing videos, pictures, and outside articles, the space that the app takes up begins to swell and after prolonged use, the app can sometimes shut down randomly. The app also drains the battery very quickly if you're using it for even a few different chats.
Messenger is available for PCs, mobile devices and tablets running Windows, Mac, iOS and Android mobile devices and tablets. On PC, you can access Facebook Messenger through the Facebook website, with pop-out text boxes appearing when messages are sent. There is also a separate Messenger website if you wanted to have a separate tab for your chats, voice and video calls. All of the functions available for Messenger on Android are available on the web versions. On iOS when voice or video chatting, you can pick from a number of effects that hang and float all over the screen.
For Android, the best alternative is Messages, the Android function that comes with your phone. It has all of the functions that regular text messaging apps come with, but of course there isn't a way to contact Facebook friends unless you have their phone number. The next alternative would be Whatsapp. Text, voice, and video chatting is good across the board, and just like Messenger you need to have some sort of internet or data connection to use it. Other similar functions to Messenger are photo and video sharing capabilities, GIFs and stickers, voice messages, voice to text, and group chatting. With Whatsapp, you can display statuses, and view your chats on your desktop. Just go to the Whatsapp site for web and scan the QR code with your phone. You're instantly able to view all of the chats that you have on your phone on your desktop or laptop.
Facebook Messenger for Android is a lot of fun to have. It is absolutely packed with functions that make chatting delightful and kicks it up a notch in the messaging app department. There aren't many other apps with this many capabilities available for free for most mobile devices.
Yes, Facebook Messenger is a useful app, but bear in mind that it drains battery power very quickly, and asks for a lot of personal information in order to download it. When it was first released, users were essentially forced to download it in order to chat with Facebook friends on a mobile device. If you're a user that utilizes a lot of functions often like video or voice chatting, sharing documents, photos, and videos, and you don't mind charging your phone more often, Messenger is worth having on your phone. Otherwise, the messaging application that comes with your phone or Whatsapp should meet your needs just fine.