Facebook Messenger has become one of the most recognized and used messaging platforms in the world, but new features added over the years have made it a bloated travesty, filled to the brim with all sorts of extras most users don't really find necessary.
In an attempt to appease those who think Messenger is too complicated, Facebook rolled out Messenger Lite for Android in 2016, a slimmed-down version of the original app that contains just the bare necessities: users only get primary messaging features and none of the bells and whistles such as GIFs, reactions, and Stories.
The fact that millions of people downloaded Lite — and more continue to do so — probably made Facebook realize that its main Messenger app has become far too messy that users are willing to forego extra features and go for Lite. But soon, they won't have to — Facebook is planning to overhaul Messenger in a major way to make it less bloated.
Facebook Redesigns Messenger
During the company's F8 keynote, Mark Zuckerberg announced that it's going to "completely redesign Messenger" to give its users a "simple and fast experience," following years of jamming the app with superfluous features like video games.
Messenger VP David Marcus went on to add that Facebook has been working on this app since the beginning of 2018, and it's launching "very, very soon."
The bottom navigation has been redesigned to show only three tabs that focus on communication. At the upper right section are buttons for camera, video chat, and what appears to be "compose." The Stories tab is still up there just before the conversations list, but overall, the app does look far cleaner and more inviting than the current design. Also, a dark mode option will be available, which should go perfectly with OLED displays.
New Features On Facebook Messenger
Facebook also announced that users will soon be able to share 4K photos and 360-degree video, and they'll also get better access to language translation features moving forward.
More than anything, Facebook cutting up clutter is a logical move. The social network knows that the millions of people switching to Messenger Lite means it's creating a divide among its user base, and that is a risky thing for any company to do. It seems it wants to close that gap.
It's hard to ascertain Facebook's true goal here — does it want Lite users to switch back to the main app? Will it ultimately get rid of Lite once enough people gravitate toward the redesigned Messenger app? Also, here's a better question: will it eventually allow people to turn off extra features they don't really plan on using? This way, Facebook gets to keep users on the main app and still continue introducing bloat. Time will tell if it's going this route.