Google’s Material Design language has been around for a while now, and while many apps have adapted to fit in with MD, others are taking their sweet time. Facebook’s Messenger app is one example of the latter, but it looks like Facebook may finally be getting around to updating the look of its popular messaging app.
Screenshots shared by Android Police show that Facebook is testing a new-look Messenger app that, while not totally in line with Material Design, does add some MD flavor to the app. In the screenshots below, you can see the current app on the left and the new one on the right. The most notable change in the new app the use of a floating action button instead of the blue tab. The floating action button is a UI feature that’s widely used in Material Design apps, including those from Google.
While the floating action button is perhaps the biggest change to Messenger’s look, you can find a few other tweaks if you look closely enough. For example, the contact images are a bit smaller, the status bar is now gray to match the app’s text, and the gray lines separating each conversation in the old app are gone. There are also updates to the icons at the top of the app. Not only are they a darker gray now, but the Groups and Settings icons have been changed to better fit in with Android as a whole.
Facebook is a gigantic company that’s been known to do its own thing and promote its own brand in an effort to get folks to use its own services over existing options. For example, we’ve seen Facebook release its own dialer app and launch a competitor to Snapchat. All of this is to say that it’s kind of surprising to see Facebook tweaking the look of Messenger to better fit in with Android’s Material Design. It’s a welcome surprise, though, and hopefully it’s one that’ll be pushed out to the general public.
The new-look Messenger appears to be enabled on Facebook’s end, so there’s not really any way to force it to appear on your phone. For now you’ll just have to be patient and see if it shows up for you.