Facebook is currently testing out an update to its Messenger app, that is designed to distance the messaging app from Facebook's main application. According to The Verge, this redesign can be seen as a refresh of the Messenger brand, as it seeks to become a mobile to mobile messaging network like Whatsapp, instead of being just a supporting app for Facebook's main application.
The first thing that users will notice about the Messenger app's new look is the different shade of blue that it uses. It's lighter, and more vibrant, so that users won't get the feeling that they're still in the Facebook app. Navigation has also been made easier, as users just need to tap on the icons located at the top of the app, or swipe left and right to see conversation lists, people lists and settings.
Contacts that appear on your phone, but aren't in your Facebook list of friends can also be reached via the Messenger app. Contacts that are using the mobile Messenger app will have small Messenger icons beside their names, and will be notified instantly when they receive a message from you.
Like Whatsapp, phone numbers are also used to identify users, and not used to SMS users that aren't in your friends list. According to the product manager of this update, Peter Martinazzi, the SMS feature was removed because it didn't take off (someone should tell Google that). Martinazzi also added that tweaks have also been made under the hood that enabled faster sending and receiving of messages, as well as some that make the app go faster, especially on Android.
Unfortunately, Facebook didn't give a date when users will be able to download this update, but The Verge was informed that the update will be rolled out in the coming few weeks to both iOS and Android users.