Facebook announces overhauled, simplified Messenger app

Image: Facebook Messenger
The login screen of Facebook Messenger displayed on the screen of a smartphone. Copyright Dominic Lipinski PA Wire file
By Jasmin Boyce with NBC News Tech and Science News
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The redesigned messaging app condensed the previous layout of 9 tabs down to 3 tabs — "Chats," "People," and "Discover."


Facebook's Messenger app is going back to basics in its new redesign.

The company announced the layout change, dubbed "Messenger 4," on Tuesday, with the hope of boosting consumer satisfaction. Stan Chudnovsky, vice president of Facebook Messenger, made the announcement in a blog post, touting the simpler design.

Chudnovsky stated the layout "put the focus back on messaging and connecting."

According to a study done by Messenger, 71 percent of participants stated that simplicity was a "top priority" for the user interface. The redesigned messaging app condensed the previous layout of 9 tabs down to 3 tabs — "Chats," "People," and "Discover."

Accompanying the simpler layout, Facebook introduced a "color gradient" feature capable of customizing the color of chat bubbles to reflect a user's "mood or topic of conversation" Chudnovsky wrote.

In September, Facebook revealed in a blog post that the company had reached 300 million active users for Facebook Stories and Messenger Stories. The company's Messenger app dominates smaller platforms like Snapchat, which reported 188 million active users in August.

Facebook has been criticized over the its response to privacy concerns and data breaches. Most recently in September, the company announced it had suffered a data breach that affected around 29 million users. Facebook has noted that that the cyberattack did not affect its Messenger app.

Chudnovsky took over as head of Facebook's messenger app after the previous head, David Marcus, stepped down in May. A week before his resignation, Marcus announced the plan for redesigning the Messenger app at a conference.

According to Chudnovsky, "Messenger 4" will be rolled out in "phases" allowing time for users to adjust to updates. Upcoming features will include "Dark Mode," an interface that lessens the bright glare of a user's device.

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