Facebook Messenger is now a texting replacement, and it got an iOS 7 makeover

Facebook has had its distinct look for some time now. Even with changes to the news feed and tweaks across its site, the logo, color scheme, and general appearance of the site and its apps have remained the same. But the company has begun on an image overhaul, including redesigning the like button for the first time ever. The latest face lift for the suddenly image-conscience company comes to the Facebook Messenger app. The standalone service for talking to your Facebook friends broke off of the social network’s standard app awhile ago and now it has a look all its own as well.

The app was initially rolled out to a small batch of Android users, but now it’s available widely for iOS and Android. That idea of wider exposure carries through the update as users will now have the ability to message people outside of their friends list, reaching anyone who uses the Facebook Messenger app. This makes the app less of a social network’s chat feature and more like a SMS or texting service. To coincide with this new focus, the speed and performance of the app has been improved so there isn’t that strange delay between messages that would sometimes occur.

This change may seem minuscule, but it’s at least somewhat indicative of Facebook’s direction when it comes to mobile. Making Facebook work as a text messenger rather than just a standalone version of Facebook chat means the service can be used in place of standard SMS options, circumventing any texting restrictions placed by carriers and making Facebook Messenger the go-to service for any sort of communication between Facebook friend or new contact.

While all of this change to functionality is well and good, the thing that is more likely to have people talking is the change in interface to Facebook Messenger. Gone is the look inherited from the social network. Instead, the app now looks like its own entity, barely even mentioning Facebook though it holds all of your contacts from it. A brighter, more vibrant color scheme with a flat design style makes the app look like it was built specifically with iOS 7 in mind. It’s very much a change of pace from the standard Facebook affair, and if the goal is to make the Messenger a service all its own, the new skin is probably for the best.

The updated Facebook Messenger is available for free for iOS and Android.

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