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Facebook Messenger for Android gets a few new updates and a redesigned UI

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If you’re one of the billion or so people who use Facebook Messenger, you might notice a change in the coming days — if you’re an Android user, that is. As first reported by Android Police, it would appear that the popular messaging app is undergoing a bit of a redesign, as well as an integration of the social network’s personal assistant named “M.”

So what’s changing? In general, it looks as though Facebook is streamlining the Messenger app, somewhat uncluttering the text field at the bottom of your smartphone. Instead of having various elements like inserting an image, a voice recording, or a GIF spread out over two rows, Facebook has opted to move everything into just one row. That means that you can see a bit more of your messages, and you’ll also have to do a bit more navigating if you’re someone who tends to add a lot of non-text messages to your messages.

The actual text field has also shrunk quite a bit, so you’ll need to be a bit more precise about what you’re tapping and where.

In fact, that’s the overall change — more careful taps, and more taps as a whole. Rather than displaying all of Facebook Messenger’s elements up front and center, the new Messenger app consolidates all those features into a “plus” folder, which means you have to first open the folder, then select an option like games, your camera, or something else.

As for the M integration, it’s not much to write home about. While the AI-based assistant was announced with quite a bit of fanfare back in 2015, it’s not doing a whole lot yet. Really, it seems that the only thing M is currently capable of doing is to “pop up in chats when it sees greetings or wishes such as “happy birthday,” “Happy New Year,” and “good morning” sent to you.” Still in beta, so perhaps more will happen as the update is rolled out to a greater number of people.

Finally, Facebook has allowed you to opt out of being notified every time your app is updated.

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Lulu Chang
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