After rumors surfaced over the last few days indicating Apple may release a version of iMessage for Android, a move that did not materialize during WWDC 2016, another company has jumped into the mix in a move to become your “go to” messaging app on Android devices. That company is none other than Facebook which announced today that their latest Messenger for Android update includes support for SMS.
This is not the first time Facebook Messenger has supported SMS integration, but it was removed back in 2013. The addition of SMS support back into Messenger is described as “SMS on steroids” by Facebook’s David Marcus. Support for SMS may also explain Facebook’s recent move to require the Messenger app to send and receive messages via Facebook to the chagrin of some users.
Facebook has designed the new feature to use a purple design, consistent with the app’s Material design, when SMS threads are shown versus the normal Facebook blue for the platform’s Messenger messages. However, that appears to be the extent of customization available for now at least.
To activate the new feature, I did have to visit my account settings on the Facebook web site. Even with a verified number, which is the first requirement, users need to activate text messaging which involves a couple setup steps that Facebook will walk you through. Once that was completed, I changed my default app setting for messages on my Android phone and the SMS messages started flowing through Messenger.
The new feature is rolling out now via an update available from the Play Store. Unfortunately, it does not appear the Messenger function in the Facebook web site on the desktop is showing SMS message threads, so users hoping for a platform that will work with SMS across their devices will not be satisfied with this change. For users that like Messenger on their mobile devices though, this is going to be a nice addition if they want to consolidate their messaging platforms and they were already big Facebook Messenger users.
Get all your messages in one place on Android starting today! SMS on steroids come to Messenger pic.twitter.com/mpnfSyyEQB
— David Marcus (@davidmarcus) June 14, 2016