5 Reasons the New Facebook Messenger App Will Kill SMS and 5 Reasons it Won’t
By: Hillel Fuld
A lot has been said about Facebook and the way Zuckerberg runs the operation. In fact, as you know, the company's story even turned into a huge hit on the big screen. Whether you like the frequent UI changes, the lack of privacy, or the new groups, one thing is for sure, Facebook never rests. Between their recent partnership with Skype, the leak of the upcoming iPad app and its removal, and yesterday's release of a new standalone Facebook Messaging app, the company never stops innovating.
But how is the app? Well, I think it can be summed up perfectly in three words said by the friend I tried the app with as soon as it was released. "It's a hit" is what he said. And it is. You know why? Because contrary to many apps and services, including the new popular kid on the block, Google+, with this app, as soon as you open it, you know exactly how to use it and why it is beneficial.
Is it perfect? Absolutely not. For example, I understand it is meant to be a comprehensive messaging platform in which I write someone who sees it on their phone, and if they don't have it on their phone, they will see a chat message on their computer, and if they are not online, they will get it in their Facebook messages inbox. I get it, but I would still like the ability to see who's online in the app and I cannot. The main view is my messages inbox, while it should be my friends list with their current status, which is what we are used to from all other messaging apps.
Having said that, as MG Siegler puts it, this app will put one more stumbling block in front of SMS and its long-term survival. It also poses a threat to apps such as WhatsApp, Kik, and of course Apple's soon-to-be-released iMessage platform.
The following are five reasons the new Facebook Messenger app is better than other alternatives and five reasons it is worse:
1: Everyone is on Facebook: With over 700 million users, services like Kik and WhatsApp don't stand a chance, and neither does iMessage.
2: Group Chat: The ease of creating a group chat (for organizing an event for example) could not be easier. Even more so than Huddle on G+.
3: Speed: This is app is seriously fast, no delays in chats or sharing photos. That gives it an edge over all others including SMS.
4: Upcoming Video Chat: Yes, the new app will soon support video chat, presumably based on Skype technology. Take that, SMS!
5: Multimedia: Yes, there is MMS but let's be honest, who really uses that? The new Facebook app lets you share photos quickly and seamlessly.
And now for the app's five downsides:
1: iOS and Android only: The fact that it is only available for iPhone and Android users is going to be a problem if it wants to take on SMS.
2: No Status: One of the great messaging features coined by BBM is the ability to see if the message was seen and read. WhatsApp has it, this app doesn't (but hey, neither does SMS).
3: Standalone App: Yes, everyone is on Facebook and yes, almost every iPhone and Android owner downloads the Facebook app almost immediately, but will this be the case with a second Facebook app? Not so sure.
4: Complexity: The app is not complex, don't get me wrong but compared to SMS, it is rocket science. Put it this way. I am fairly convinced I will never send a message to my dad and have him answer using this app.
5: Lack of Integration: The reason services like SMS, BBM, and even iMessage have or will do well is because they are integrated with your phone. They are preinstalled and have access to your contacts, this app does not.
To sum it up, I am a fan of the new Facebook Messenger app, I put it on the home screen of my iPhone and it will remain there alongside apps like Calendar, Camera, Twitter, and yes, Facebook. However, the fact that I will use it does not mean much, I am a geek. The question is will this app get the traction that services like SMS and BBM have gotten over the years? The answer? Your guess is as good as mine!