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June 16, 2016

Facebook to Integrate SMS Into Messenger App

Facebook is looking to stop users from having to jump back and forth between messaging apps to talk to different people. They announced recently that they will begin integrating traditional SMS into Facebook Messenger in an attempt to consolidate all forms of text messaging into their app.

This new development is mostly targeted at users of Android smartphones, as these are the ones that rely heavily on SMS messaging. iPhones, on the other hand, have their own iMessage communication that remains separate from Facebook Messenger.

Facebook believes this new development will be popular for one reason: ease of use. “There are other SMS clients out there. Some are quite popular, focused on customization,” says Facebook product manager Andrea Vaccari. Apps like GO SMS Pro and QKSMS let you select special color themes and more. “But what we think we can provide is convenience,” Vaccari told TechCrunch. The process for transferring SMS messages is also incredibly simple: all it takes is one flip of a switch in the Android Settings app.

Moving SMS messages into the Facebook Messenger app also allows users the opportunity to “jazz up” their text messages. Users can use all the features of Facebook Messenger like gifs and stickers, and even transfer money. “A lot of Android texting apps didn’t keep up with the evolution of messaging, so we felt like we truly had to make Messenger the best SMS client for Android,” Facebook’s head of Messenger David Marcus explains.

While it is not included in this new update, there has been some talk of Facebook including thread merging into Messenger in the future. This would allow group chats that included both Facebook users and SMS numbers, further adding to the convenience of the app. Facebook expects to see a fairly large growth in app users as Messenger becomes a one stop shop for Android text messaging.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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