Meet Messenger 4: Facebook’s makeover both simplifies and customizes your chats

Facebook Messenger will soon funnel all the chat features into a simpler, redesigned app. Facebook has unveiled a new look for the chat platform, dubbed Messenger 4, which will roll out globally over the next few weeks. The redesign simplifies the user interface while introducing new customization options.

Messenger users will first notice the less cluttered screen after updating the app. Instead of five shortcut icons at the bottom, there’s just three. Inside the chat page, messages are no longer divided into tabs for splitting messages from calls and single chats from group chats. Instead, Messenger 4 has three main navigation categories: chat, people, and discover.

The chat interface is the closest to the current Messenger’s home screen, organizing messages and calls into one place. Groups and individual messages are also mixed into the same interface. A shortcut at the top will pull up the Messenger camera.

The People icon organizes Stories while also housing that list of who’s currently active. Games, businesses and automated messaging for tasks like booking tickets will soon live under a single Discover section. 

Facebook says that 71 percent of those who responded to a recent survey said simplicity was a top feature for messaging apps. “We believe Messenger 4 delivers the closeness and authenticity that you’ve been asking for — through simplicity of design and powerful features that put the focus back on messaging and connecting,” said Stan Chudnovsky, Messenger vice president.

Besides the streamlined interface, the redesign also brings a handful of new features to customize conversations. Color gradients allows users to customize the look of the chat bubbles with a color scheme that gradually changes over the course of the conversation. Facebook says the color gradients can be changed at any time.

While Messenger 4 looks different, Facebook says that all the familiar features are still there, including location sharing, polls, and group video chats. 

Messenger isn’t finished with the changes — the company says it has a handful of other features in the works, including a dark mode that’s designed to reduce glare using a black background. The update is also rolling out in phases, which means your Messenger friends may see the new look before or after you do.

Social Media

Instagram ditches plans for stand-alone Direct messaging app

Instagram is shuttering it's stand-alone messaging app, Direct, after testing it since 2017. While the messaging features remain intact inside Instagram, the separate app will be discontinued in the next few weeks.
Mobile

Looking for love or just some fun? Cozy up with the best dating apps of 2019

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.
Mobile

FCC chairman and commissioner support the T-Mobile and Sprint merger

T-Mobile and Sprint are getting closer to merging. After a few failed attempts, the two companies announced their merger at the start of 2018. The new T-Mobile could be better positioned to take on the likes of Verizon and AT&T.
Mobile

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (May 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Social Media

6 easy ways to archive all of your favorite Instagram videos

Saving Instagram videos should be just as easy as taking a screenshot. So, we've put together a list of the best apps and tools that save your favorite Instagram videos onto your phone or computer.
Social Media

Instagram’s new Explore grid tempts you to open your wallet

Instagram has made some changes to its Explore tab that might tempt you into the occasional shopping spree. It's also planning to add Stories to the grid, mixing them up with the existing photos and videos.
Social Media

Be the master of your own Insta-verse with multiple Instagram accounts

Whether you own a small business or have separate Instagram accounts for your five cats, we'll walk you through the process of switching between your multiple accounts on your Apple or Android devices.
Social Media

A fond farewell to Grumpy Cat, the internet’s most famous feline

We say farewell and fondly remember Grumpy Cat, the internet's famous frowning feline and a genuine sweetheart, who died at the age of seven. Even tempered and tolerant, Grumpy Cat was in real life the opposite of her online persona.
Mobile

Treat your selfie with one of these 13 apps made to beautify your pics

Selfies might be a phenomenon second only to karaoke, but they're not the easiest thing in the world to create. Thankfully, these awesome selfie apps for Android and iOS will make beautifying your self-portraits easier than capturing them.
Web

Creators of WhatsApp attack software face lawsuit from Amnesty International

This week a spyware attack was launched on WhatsApp. Now the Israeli firm linked to that attack is facing a lawsuit from human rights NGO Amnesty International, alleging their software has been used to surveil human rights defenders.
Mobile

New York could dish out fines for texting while crossing the street

Do you text on your phone while crossing the street? The dangers of stepping out in front of a car or bus are obvious, but in New York, offenders could soon face a fine of as much as $250, too.
Social Media

Help wanted: British royal family seeks social media wiz to run its accounts

The British royal family is looking for a social media expert to help it communicate its role and activities to the masses. So if you like the idea of having the Queen as your boss, why not throw your hat in the ring?
Social Media

Millions of Instagram influencers reportedly had private data exposed online

As many as 49 million Instagram influencers have reportedly had their private data exposed in an online database that had no password protection. The database was apparently created by a marketing firm and has been taken offline.