Last month, we saw that Facebook is testing a refreshed Material Design user interface for its Messenger app. Turns out that that’s not the only big update that the app may soon get, though.
Facebook is currently testing SMS text message support in Messenger for Android. The company confirmed that news to TechCrunch, explaining that it’s “always trying to create new ways for people to communicate seamlessly with everyone.” The goal of SMS support in Messenger is to make the app your one-stop app for all messaging. Unfortunately, is looks like SMS support is currently only available in the US.
Some Android users are already seeing SMS support in their Messenger app. Screenshots shared by Android Police show that SMS message bubbles are purple instead of blue so that you can easily tell which type of message you’re looking at. The message box also says “Write an SMS message.” You can also quickly tell which people your messaging and which you’re using SMS with in the Messenger app’s conversation view, with Messenger convos using a blue bubble with the Messenger logo while SMS discussions are denoted by a purple bubble with an envelope.
Unfortunately, one feature that’s currently missing is merged conversations. That means that your SMS and Messenger conversations will remain separate, even if you’re talking to the same person using the two services.
Messenger actually supported SMS back in 2013, but it was pulled because Facebook says it wasn’t catching on with users. Now it appears that Facebook is toying with the idea of bringing the feature back. The move could be an attempt by Facebook to be the source of all your communications, because if you’re using SMS in Messenger, you can hide away your phone’s default SMS app and just keep Messenger around. That’ll mean you’re spending more time in Messenger, sending messages and making phone calls.
Facebook Messenger is also gaining multiple account support, which will let anyone quickly jump from one account to another. Facebook confirmed that this feature is indeed rolling out.
Finally, it looks like Facebook is continuing to play with the UI of Messenger for Android. Some users are seeing blue status and action bars in their apps rather than the white, gray, and black bars that we’ve seen in the past.