Rumors of a wide range of Messenger updates are circulating, suggesting that the app could soon support SMS integration among other features.
Facebook Messenger has emerged as one of the leading message-sending applications over the past few years, and it’s about to get a whole lot better. According to a report from Android Police, the Facebook Messenger team has been testing some radical new ideas, including integrating SMS and multiple account support for the application.
Facebook hopes that the coming changes will cement Messenger’s place at the top of the messaging app market. The news of SMS integration and multiple account support emerged after a number of Messenger users reported a new Material Design layout in recent weeks.
A few lucky users have seen Messenger’s new designs first-hand, with the majority reporting an inverted color scheme. This is a departure from Messenger’s signature white action bar and blue icons. The new layout includes a deep blue action bar, with white icons and selectors. The status bar at the top will be blue as well.
Users have taken screenshots of the new layout, but it appears to have changed slightly over the past few weeks. Until Facebook comes out directly and reveals its plans first-hand, we may continue to see slight variations of the actual final product.
But perhaps more important and exciting to users than the layout change is the arrival of SMS integration. Facebook Messenger had dabbled in SMS before, but a subsequent update removed the capability in favor of the app’s instant messaging feature. Even though SMS integration failed to take off on the first round, the Messenger team is exploring the possibility of rolling it out a second time.
Reports of an SMS setting pane in Messenger have surfaced, and one user has even reported successfully using Messenger as his SMS client. To differentiate between instant messages and text messages, Messenger has reportedly rolled out a new purple color scheme alongside its traditional blue and white scheme. The text input box reminds users that they are writing an SMS, but for the most part, all of the other features users enjoy in Messenger have remained the same.
A source indicated that SMS messages and instant messages from the same user won’t be combined in the same window like they are in other messaging services, like Google Hangouts. This may be intentional on Facebook’s part, or it could simply be a kink that the team still needs to work out.
And as if a new design layout and SMS integration weren’t enough, Messenger is reportedly opening their doors to people with multiple accounts. This could be extremely useful for social media managers and marketers who need to stay in touch with people across multiple accounts, as it would eliminate the hassle of logging out and singing back on under a new name. Twitter’s mobile app has a similar feature, allowing users to effortlessly switch between accounts with the touch of a button.
So how can you start enjoying all of these new Messenger updates? That part remains unclear. A number of Messenger users have reported seeing the new features in their mobile app, while others report still having the older version. Facebook could simply be rolling out these new features to a few users as a test, and it’s not even clear if they will become mainstays of the application moving forward.
As the Messenger team works to improve the app, users may begin to see more new features showing up on their devices. The Material redesign is likely to be finished first, and could go live in the coming months. It may still be a while before Messenger becomes the preferred SMS client for millions of users, but Facebook is taking a bold step into new arenas in attempt to hang onto their piece of the social communications pie.