Facebook tests SMS support and account-switching in Messenger app

By adding SMS support to Messenger, Facebook is making sure you have one less reason to leave their 'ecosystem'

Facebook is reportedly testing SMS integration and multiple account support in their Messenger app - two features that would help them achieve their goal of making Messenger an all-in-one online communication tool.

As tech site AndroidPolice reports, some Android users have noted that they can send regular text messages through Messenger now, as well as regular Facebook messages.

The SMS messages are coloured purple, so they can be differentiated from the others, and SMS conversations are set apart from others in the chat list with a purple icon. However, there's unfortunately no way (yet) to see SMS and Messenger messages from the same user in a single thread, making seamless conversations via the two methods a bit difficult.

This is an early test, however, so it's possible that this feature could be introduced later.

The multiple accounts feature will be slightly less useful to most users, since the majority of users only have one Facebook account. However, for groups of people who share a device - a family with a single iPad, for example - a quick and easy way to switch accounts in the app could come in handy.

There's also been a resdesign of how the app looks - different buttons and folders are grouped into a toolbar at the top, rather than the bottom as they are currently.

They're not huge changes, but they're representative of what Facebook wants Messenger to be - by adding SMS support, they're eliminating one reason that users would have to leave the Facebook ecosystem.

As Facebook director Julien Codorniou told Wired in October, Messenger is "one per cent finished." The company wants to emulate the success of WeChat, a popular Chinese messaging app, which can be used to talk to friends, order taxis, book cinema tickets and make online purchases.

Given Facebook's ambitions, it's not surprising that it's experimenting with absorbing SMS messaging into its own apps.

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