Mobile Facebook Messenger

Facebook rolls out Messenger for non-members

Facebook Tuesday rolled out an update to its Messenger app for Android that allows even users without accounts on the social network to sign up.

Android phone owners in Australia, India, Indonesia, South Africa, and Venezuela are the first to be able to use the app by logging in with a phone number instead of a Facebook account.

According to the New York Times, U.S. users will also soon be able send messages without a Facebook login.

So, what’s in it for Facebook?

Peter Deng, the social network’s product director, told the New York Times that Facebook Messenger’s ease of use might lead users without accounts to sign up. The app is not supported by ads, Deng said.

Facebook’s Messenger service is also accessible on the website, so users can message between web and mobile and the service will log your chats so conversations aren’t lost.

The SMS just celebrated its 20th anniversary but, with carriers still charging for texts and companies creating new, free ways to message, standard text messaging could be ready to retire.

Facebook is poised to offer its own alternative to text messaging, as Apple has done with iMessage and others, like WhatsApp, are doing with cross-platform apps. (Facebook was rumored to be buying WhatsApp, but now that the social network is developing its own messaging app, that rumor may be false.)

The social network also recently partnered with Mozilla Firefox to integrate Facebook Messenger with the popular browser, so you can navigate away from the site and still use the messaging service.

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