Now, a Facebook account is not required to sign up for Messenger, the social networking giant has announced.
The move may be termed drastic in the sense that Facebook and Messenger have always been symbiotic. If you want to reach your Facebook friends, Messenger is where you find them.
The company apparently felt that tying Messenger to Facebook forever was hampering the former’s potential growth, Wired.com reported.
A few months back, Messenger was elevated from app to full-fledged platform. The following week, at Facebook’s F8 developers conference, over 40 apps for Messenger were announced.
In April, Messenger added video calls and more recently introduced its first game. Its trajectory indicates that Facebook wants to position Messenger as our default chat app.
Facebook stresses that there are benefits to linking the Facebook and Messenger. “For those who have Facebook accounts, there are many benefits to using your Facebook credentials when signing up for Messenger,” Facebook engineer Louis Boval said in a post outlining the latest change.
“People can easily message with their Facebook friends and contacts, access their Facebook messages and take advantage of multi-device messaging across mobile devices, the web and tablets,” Boval said.
Aside from the ease of access to your built-in Facebook contact list, though, those advantages seemingly apply to Messenger as well, especially now that it lives in the browser at messenger.com.
And when you sign up for Messenger with your phone number, you can easily sync your phone’s contacts, making that advantage somewhat moot.
It should be noted that Facebook already has a messenger app in its stable in the form of WhatsApp, which it acquired last year for $19 billion. WhatsApp boasts of 800,000,000 monthly active users as of April. Messenger, meanwhile, has 600,000,000 users as of March.
Facebook, though, views the two as complementary. WhatsApp remains a relatively bare-bones messaging experience. Messenger, by contrast, offers a much fuller array of features.