In brief: Facebook has been hard at work on the next iteration of Messenger. The private chat app will soon be receiving end-to-end encryption and compatibility with WhatsApp and Instagram.
Back in January, we reported on a leak from Facebook insiders that said the social media titan was working on making messaging work across Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram.
Facebook confirmed this rumor at its F8 keynote address on Tuesday. Asha Sharma, Messenger’s head of consumer products, said that the interoperability will come from Facebook’s work on its underlying messaging infrastructure.
“We believe people should be able to talk to anyone anywhere,” Sharma said.
Facebook did not reveal when users could start chatting across platforms. However, it will probably debut with Messenger 5, which is due out before the end of the year.
Messenger 5 will also feature end-to-end encryption, which also confirms the rumors from January. To say that the addition of end-to-end encryption has nothing to do with Facebook’s recent struggles in the privacy department would be a bit naive. Zuckerberg even joked about the company's reputation in his presentation. Despite, the company’s motives, the feature should attract some who have avoided Messenger for just that reason.
Other changes coming to Messenger 5 include a smaller footprint (30MB down from 100MB), faster launching and operating speeds, a friends tab, group video chat, and more.
It is unclear when these features will be rolling out and if they will launch separately or bundled in one update. Each is still undergoing testing, but Messenger 5 is expected to be landing soon.