Facebook now Working on SMS Integration for their Messenger in Android

Facebook now Working on SMS Integration for their Messenger
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Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is incorporating text messages into its online messaging and video calling service. The company is currently testing out the new feature, and also aims to allow users to eventually switch between multiple accounts. Facebook will start offering the features for the Android platform only, perhaps owing to the greater number of Android users. iOS users will have to wait for these features.
The report initially came from Android Police, with the website revealing that a tipster saw the new SMS setting pane. The bar is blue and white, instead of the current white and blue theme that Messenger employs. When users text friends, an option allows users to type an SMS message pops up.
Users can differentiate between text and Messenger messages by the color; text messages are shown in the purple color, while Messenger posts are in blue-colored bubbles. The Messenger bubble will also replace the Facebook user’s profile image with a purple picture when sending Texts. Facebook later confirmed to VentureBeat that it aimed to promote seamless communication between all messaging platforms through one app.
Facebook also aims to add support for multiple accounts to its Messenger app; Facebook recently added the feature to Instagram. The feature will debut on Messenger’s Android version, with Facebook acknowledging that “millions” share smartphones with friends and family. Teens and kids are likely to be in the majority of these millions, and one can imagine an account switching feature being fairly useful for siblings who share a phone. The feature is new, and will negate the need to log out of the app every time someone else needs to use the phone. Messenger’s Accounts section contains the feature to add users.
Of course, this can create problems if users who share their phones do not want others to read their messages. Facebook foresaw this and hence added password protection for each account on Messenger, ensuring that no one else can see anyone else’s messages. When one of a number of users receive a message, the phone will merely show a notification announcing the arrival of a message; the actual message itself will not be shown to the user in possession of the phone.
The multiple account support feature, unlike SMS integration, is available globally. It is interesting to note that Facebook Messenger started out with a feature, which allowed SMS integration, but it was not working out for the company at the time. Hangouts by Google is a rival of Messenger by Facebook, and the Google app already has combined SMS integration and instant messaging features into one. Even better – Google’s Hangouts combine all conversations into one thread for each contact, allowing users to easily recall their last conversation with a user regardless of the platform.
Facebook will not combine these features like Google did, which will perhaps help differentiate the two features to begin with. Facebook’s Messenger will also utilize a new Material Design (the design language developed by Google) layout. While nothing is confirmed at this stage, Facebook is certainly bringing over some positive features to help boost the appeal of its Messenger app. Users may not really have a dire need to have one app for SMS and instant messaging, but Messenger already offers integration with Uber’s ridesharing services; texting seems to be the next step.
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