Facebook launched a couple of important updates this week as part of its push to keep innovating on mobile.
The company launched a new beta program for its Android Messenger app, promising multiple updates per week as a way to test new features. The company requires users to join a Google Group and opt in to the beta program, then uninstall the current version of Messenger and re-install it to get the new code. At this point, nothing significant has changed, but down the road it will be interesting to see what Facebook has in store for its Messenger service now that it also owns WhatsApp. The company says that over one million testers signed up for the Facebook for Android beta, and this is a logical extension of that program. (See below for instructions on how to join.)
On the iOS side, Facebook updated its client to version 8.0, adding a new iPad interface that is cleaner and more aligned with its desktop counterpart. But the main feature addition on smartphones is the ability to share a photo with just one, or a specific set of people, something that Snapchat, Google+ and others have popularized in recent months.
How to join the Facebook Messenger for Android beta
1) Join the Facebook Messenger for Android Beta Testers Google group:
2) Allow beta downloads by clicking “Become a Tester” in the Play Store (you need to join the Google Group before becoming a tester)
3) Download Facebook Messenger from the Play Store to update your app
4) Turn on automatic updates, as the beta version of Facebook Messenger for Android will be updated multiple times per week