Until now, Facebook Messenger has existed in this weird in-between place, both as a core tenet of the proper Facebook app and as a standalone app with an expanded feature set. Starting this week, Messenger users on iOS, Android and Windows Phone will be pushed to download that standalone version in order to continue using the service.
It’s a move that we’re surprised has taken as long as it has. Facebook has increasingly emphasized Messenger’s importance, both as a platform and revenue generator, and has spent lots of time and money revamping it as a self-sufficient entity within the company’s ecosystem. Indeed, it’s even positioned as an alternative to WhatsApp, which is far more popular outside of North America. (more…)