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In brief: With over one billion users globally, Facebook Messenger remains the most popular messaging app in the world. Now, the company has announced an updated version of its platform, which streamlines and simplifies the experience while adding customization options.
With Facebook packing more features into Messenger over the years, the app has become quite bloated, with nine tabs occupying the home screen. Messenger 4 addresses this by dropping that number down to three.
The trio of tabs at the bottom of the updated app includes 'Chats', which lets users access conversations (individuals and groups) and see Stories, while a shortcut at the top right brings up the Messenger camera. Then there's the 'People' tab, which also contains friends' Stories and shows who is currently online. 'Discover' is the final tab, where you can connect with businesses and play games.
Including Stories in two separate tabs isn't too surprising. Facebook continues to push the feature, which is used by 300 million people each day.
With Messenger 4, users can now personalize the app by using color gradients, which will make a chat bubble change color when scrolling up and down. It's also possible to give people in chats a nickname, and sending a photo or starting a video call with someone can be done by simply swiping right on the person's name.
Additionally, Facebook says it is adding a Dark Mode to Messenger sometime over the coming weeks. The feature will help cut down glare from a phone and makes using the app in a low-light environment easier on the eyes.
The social network stressed that while the app is getting a new interface, all its current features---polls, location sharing, etc.---are still present.
Messenger 4 is rolling out in phases to all users right now.