San Francisco -- In an attempt to eliminate some of the challenges coupled with text-based communication, social networking giant Facebook is gradually entering a level on par with BlackBerry Messenger and Apple's iMessage, has just updated its mobile Messenger application to give users a bit more information about who is actually reading their messages versus who is ignoring them completely.The new updates, rolled out over the weekend, are for both the iOS and Android versions of the Facebook Messaging application. Version 1.7 of Facebook Messenger for iPhone and Android, seamlessly keeps discussions flowing between friends with three new elements. The app informs you who has seen your messages, empowers you to observe where your friends are messaging you from, and includes a more visible real-time typing indicator.
The company noted, “The new Messenger clients for both iOS and Android make mobile messaging more conversational, especially when texting groups of friends on the go,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.
Further explaining the company said that is not the Facebook's dedicated messaging app that you might have installed on your iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone, which is independent of the official Facebook app, has gained the ability to display read receipts.
In fact, the most helpful attribute is the “Seen by” indicator that informs you which of your friends have read your messages. It essentially acts like a read receipt (like in BBM or iMessage) and should come handy when chatting with groups. Sorry, fibbers, this does mean you can no longer plead ignorance on the Facebook messages you have read.
As opposed to iMessage, which renders read receipts as an opt-in feature, but Facebook Messenger provides no way to opt out of them in case you are not interested in letting others know exactly when you have read their messages. In accordance with this, the app has also replaced its three-dot real-time typing symbol in group conversations with as simple as the name of the person currently typing a reply. The updated app now also couples location data to each message, provided that the sender has granted permission for the app to do so.
Likewise, the “read receipts” feature will display a little note under messages that you have sent to let you know which member in the conversation actually took a look at what you had to say. So when you send a message as part of a chat conversation, a little mobile icon will appear beneath your text to give all participants in the conversation a general gist of where you and your mobile device happen to be. Thus, if your buddies want to track down exactly where you are, they only have to click on a little GPS icon to the right of your message, which pulls up your exact location at the time of sending.
Besides, you can also message people within Facebook's native app, the aforementioned updates are for the standalone Messenger application only – for now. According to TechCrunch's Josh Constine, Facebook does plan to roll out its new changes to its normal Facebook app and the website itself at some point in the future.
Some other worthwhile enhancements bundled are convenient little touches meant to make conversations feel more contextual and fluid. The location and app-type indicators, for instance, show you when a friend is messaging you from near or far (with an included map) via their mobile device. Such information could come in handy when trying to arrange an impromptu get together.
Notably, this update is an quintessential Facebook--sharing more by doing less. Undoubtedly, you may have to sacrifice a little privacy in favor of better communication, but the exchanges are with people you presumably like, so maybe more information is better. The free Facebook Messenger is available in the App Store.