Facebook is interested in making its Messenger app compatible with sending and receiving SMS texts, a feature the social network has attempted to integrate before.
It’s rather clear that Facebook wants its users to spend more time on the Messenger platform instead of communicating via their default texting application.
If broadly rolled out, the feature would be completely optional. Facebook also announced that Messenger can soon be used with multiple accounts, something that comes in handy for people who share devices.
After some reports noticed that SMS support seemed to have returned to Messenger, Facebook came forward and confirmed that SMS tests were indeed underway. According to Android Police, some users were given the option of using Messenger as an SMS client by accessing a new SMS Settings pane.
When the option is enabled, the text input box has a different prompt, “Write an SMS message.” AP also mentioned that messages sent as SMS texts appear in purple bubbles, instead of Facebook’s classic blue.
At its origins, Facebook Messenger was originally meant to be an SMS replacement app and a way to have a quick chat with Facebook friends.
However, the app was revamped in late 2013, adding the possibility of also messaging non-friends if you had their phone number. Still, those conversations were still delivered and stored within the Messenger app.
Meanwhile, Facebook’s SMS feature was pulled on grounds of “low traction” among users. In fact, the company was probably more focused in forcing Messenger adoption – something that soon turned into a major success.
The fact that Facebook may now be willing to bring SMS support back to the Messenger platform is actually not that far-fetched; earlier in 2016, the company announced that it plans to render phone numbers useless in the near future.
According to market experts, accomplishing that feat wouldn’t be completely impossible, as Messenger’s only real competition in the U.S. is SMS and iMessage on Apple devices. Facebook has also started making big strides toward that vision, helping users to transition away from their native texting app.
For example, a recently introduced feature allows users to send a Message Request to anyone on Facebook – regardless of whether you are Facebook friends or not – which eliminated the need to know someone’s phone number.
However, killing off SMS requires more, and Facebook has realized that. All the GIFs, voice calls, and video support mean nothing if your friend doesn’t have the app installed. If you can’t use Messenger as your SMS client, you’ll probably still just text them.
Image Source: Play Tech