Facebook Messenger as your default SMS app: Five things you need to know

Facebook today announced that its Messenger app can now be your default SMS app and can send and receive texts.

Facebook Messenger can be set as a default SMS app only in Android devices and will feature different colours for SMS and Messenger chats.

Even if you use Facebook Messenger as the default SMS app in your Android phone, you will still need go pay standard SMS fee to your operator. Given that the Facebook Messenger app can now cater to both SMS as well as messages sent by other Facebook users, the app will highlight these messages in Purple and Blue colours respectively.

Is Facebook listening to your physical conversations?

Facebook Messenger will now let you send texts to those people whose contacts are saved within the app but whose phone numbers are not available with you. This development will make phone numbers irrelevant as far as person-to-person texting is concerned.

'Today we are enabling people to use SMS in Messenger for Android to communicate with their family, friends and phone contacts. What this means is you will now have the choice to be able to send and receive your SMS/texts in Messenger and will not have go to different screens on your phone to communicate,' said Facebook in a blog post.

'SMS in Messenger doesn't send, upload or store your conversations on Facebook servers. All messages are sent and received via SMS. Standard SMS, regular text fees apply. Regular, non-SMS messages sent/received on Messenger will continue to use data. Using this feature is your choice; you can easily switch to a different app as your primary SMS app from your device settings, or directly from the app that you want to make your primary SMS app,' the company added.

Back in March, Facebook gave its Messenger app a new makeover, bringing in a bright blue navigation bar with menu options at the top and a floating action button at the bottom. The blue navigation bar at the top contained buttons for recent chats, contacts, chat settings and an option for creating new groups, while the floating action button gave you the option to start new chats. Basically, not much changed except for the fact that Facebook turned Messenger more colourful with the bright blue band at the top which was a welcome respite from the white band which was, to be honest, quite bland.

Facebook Messenger bots: What it means for you?

Facebook has also announced new bots for its Messenger service which it may introduce soon. The new bots will let you use Facebook Messenger to buy products, interact with companies and search for a range of offers. At the same time, if such companies feel that you haven't bought their products in a while or you aren't interacting with them regularly enough, they will be able to send you messages which will highlight new deals and products on offer.

Given that Facebook also owns WhatsApp, we wonder why Facebook decided not to turn WhatsApp into a default messaging app, given that the latter boasts more users worldwide that Facebook Messenger. At the same time, WhatsApp features end-to-end encryption technology which is difficult to defeat and as per rumours, will soon be available in PCs and Macs around the world. Were WhatsApp turned into a default messaging app, it may have been possible for PC and Mac users to send texts as well to their friends and colleagues.

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