Facebook has been vocal about its plan to bring more features and design elements to Messenger, which is one of the world’s leading message app today. Interestingly, the tech giant is going to introduce a couple of huge changes to the app. According to CNBC, a brand new redesigned version of the app will be released.
In context, the tech company is about to release a redesigned version of Messenger. This is basically an attempt to put the focus back on user chats. After years of revenue-focused expansion into bots, games, payments, and other distractions, the company is bringing Messenger back to basics.
While all those extra widgets are still present in the app, they have mostly been hidden away in spots where users can safely ignore them. The new Messenger still promotes its business objectives throughout the app. The only different, however, is that on the whole it is a welcome return to a time when the app was first and foremost a lightweight utility.
“Messenger is really powerful,” says David Breger, a product manager on the app. “But if you look at something like this, I don’t know if the first word you would use is ‘simple.’” Breger is simply talking about the old version of the app, which ballooned over the past half-decade into nine different tabs.
It is worth noting about just how complex Messenger had become. There were tabs for games, for people, and for businesses. There were tabs for friends who currently had the app open, for groups, and for past calls. The button for starting a new text message had become a tiny square next to the search bar, while the most prominent real estate was reserved for a button to take photos and videos.
The updated Messenger will reportedly roll out over the coming weeks. When it arrives on users’ phone, they can expect to find fewer tabs. Messenger 4 features just three tabs, instead of the nine currently cluttering up the app.
Facebook says it was motivated by user feedback to make the change, citing a survey in which 71 percent of users told them simplicity was the top priority for them in a messaging app. “Simplicity” would not be a word to describe the current iteration of Messenger, which is ringed by a multitude of tabs connecting users to the features that Facebook has crammed into its messaging app over the years.
“We built a lot of capabilities [into Messenger] over the years, but it’s not as simple as the app was at the beginning of our journey,” said Stan Chudnovsky, Messenger’s head of product.
To restore some simplicity to the app, Messenger now features Chats, People, and Discover tabs to house Messenger’s existing features.
“We really haven’t changed the ways you use Messenger to connect,” said Sean Kelly, Messenger’s director of product management. Features like Instant Games, peer-to-peer payments and group video are still in Messenger — users can just access them in different places.
The tab users will probably spend the most time in is Chats, which house conversations with friends and groups. Besides the list of chats a roll of icons at the top of the screen shows which of a user’s friends are active right now and who h as posted a Story on Messenger or Facebook.
Easily the most noticeable change in the Chats tab is the placement of the camera icon, which has moved from the bottom of the screen in the old Messenger to the top of the tab in the updated version. Facebook says the move is intended to make it easier to access the phone’s camera from within the app.