Facebook announced a handful of new stuff at its just-concluded F8 Conference, among which is Messenger's integration into other Facebook-owned apps including Instagram and WhatsApp.
This should perhaps come as no surprise — Facebook had hinted on combining all these platforms before, or at least the messaging component on each, into a unified service. Now, it appears that's about to be a reality.
At F8, Messenger's consumer product head, Asha Sharma, said that in the future, users will soon be able to send messages across those three aforementioned apps, as Engadget reports.
Messenger Will Work Across Different Facebook-Owned Apps
"We believe people should be able to talk to anyone anywhere," said Sharma, who added that inter-app messaging will work similarly to how people make calls on phones: no need to worry if the other party is on, say, Verizon or T-Mobile — just tap their name and call them — or in Messenger's case, send them a message. The recipient will still get the message no matter what service they use.
Sharma confirmed that all messages will feature end-to-end encryption, which should insulate users and content they share from backdoor spying. That makes plenty of sense since Facebook has recently given more focus on the privacy aspect of its services.
It's not clear when this interoperable Messenger will roll out to users. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it might take some time, and that could mean next year or much, much later. In any case, it's bound to be a radical change that will prioritize versatility and render messaging service-agnostic — for Facebook's services, at least.
Messenger For Desktop
Besides interoperability, Facebook also announced an official desktop client for Messenger on Mac and Windows, due later this year.
As The Verge notes, there are far more mobile phones than computers in the world, which is why development for PCs has slowed as a result. But messaging remains a core function for office workers who spend most of their time glued to a computer screen, and having a native client is crucial to their workflow. A dedicated Messenger client could keep them inside Facebook's service ecosystem for hours a day.
"People want to seamlessly message from any device, and sometimes they just want a little more space to share and connect with the people they care about most," Facebook said.
Messenger for Desktop will feature audio calls, group video calls, and many other features currently found on mobile. The app is now in testing and will arrive globally "later this year," according to the company.