Just a couple of days ago, we posted about Photo Syncing – a test feature of the official Facebook app for Android – which, once enabled, can be used to automatically, instantly and privately upload photos from Android to Facebook. Another very significant update has just been rolled out in the Google Play Store – this time for Facebook Messenger for Android – that not only brings some much-needed enhancements to the overall UI of the social network’s default messaging app, but also expands its messaging capabilities manifold. Besides serving as a dedicated messaging app for your Facebook chats, the app now qualifies as a handy SMS replacement app for your Android. That’s right, provided you own one of the select devices on which said feature is supported, you can now use the Facebook Messenger Android app to send SMS/MMS messages to desired phone numbers (standard messaging rates may apply). The app’s IM interface now sports bubble-style conversations, where a blue/white bubble combination represents Facebook message threads, whereas a green/white combination indicates SMS threads. In addition, the app now provides even better and quicker means to select a Friend to start chatting with. Better yet, its lets you pin your favorite/most frequently contacted Friends right at the top of the Friends list.
All aforementioned changes are aimed at both the Android, as well as the iOS variant, of Facebook Messenger; however, it’s the Android users who’re ready to take the updated app out for a spin, while iOS users have to wait for just a tad longer to enjoy all said features on their devices. Even in the Android domain, only the users owing Samsung Galaxy S3, One X, Galaxy Nexus and a handful of other Android models will be able to enjoy the update as of now.
From virtually anywhere within the app, you can now swipe towards the left to reveal list of your Facebook friends, with the option to instantly find out who among them is currently online. To personalize this list, hit Edit in the top-right, pin required contacts to the Favorites list, reposition them on the list as you like, hit Done, and you’re good to go.
While your Facebook Friends are represented by their respective profile photos on the app’s main interface, the SMS icons represent all the various text messages that you’ve shared with your phone contacts. The + icon in the bottom-right can be tapped to initiate a new messaging session with your Facebook or phone contacts. Even the content sharing segment of the app seems to have been updated with even better looks. While texting, you can opt to share your location, and hit the + icon in the bottom-left to share photos (by capturing, exploration or searching) and emoticons.
If you’re pleased with the app’s SMS capabilities, you can even use it as your default/primary texting app. On the other hand, it also allows you to disable the SMS feature altogether. To get your hands on both said options, hit Menu > Settings > SMS/MMS.