Messenger and Facebook, together again? Facebook tests integrating chats

Remember when Messenger was part of the Facebook app instead of a separate download? Facebook may be reverting back to integrated chats within the main app rather than requiring users to move back and forth between the two apps for both features. After reverse-engineered code suggested the possibility, Facebook confirmed a test involving private messages sent within the Facebook app.

Reverse engineered by Jane Manchun Wong — a tipster who has been right on several previous features ahead of the official launch — suggests a redesigned Facebook app with a shortcut to access Messenger. Instead of opening the separate app, the test opens a page within the Facebook app to access all the chats.

Wong notes that the feature isn’t as fully fledged as the stand-alone Messenger app, lacking calls, reactions and the ability to send photos. Facebook’s statement on the matter suggests Messenger will remain as a stand-alone app with more features, if the test of integrated Messenger ever comes to life.

The look at the app’s code also shows a redesign with a white background instead of the usual blue header.

The change could be tied to the report suggesting that Facebook is considering merging different messaging platforms into one rather than separate chat options for Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. In a statement to the New York Times, the social network said it is working to “build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private. We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks.”

While Messenger originally was part of the Facebook app, the network removed the chat capability from the main app in 2014 a few years after creating the dedicated chat app. At the time, the company said using Messenger was faster than sending and receiving chats through the main app.

Facebook didn’t share the reasoning behind putting the test messages back into the original app outside of “improving the experience.” Besides confirming a test and Messenger’s prominence as a stand-alone app, the company didn’t share any additional details.

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