Many of us use Facebook to communicate with our friends, but is the social networking site making a move to play an even larger role in online communication? Recently, Facebook has created a new app for messaging that does not require a Facebook account to use. Only your phone number and name are required for the use of this messenger app, so you can chat with your contacts without having to use Facebook. Although people are wondering if services such as this one will replace the traditional SMS, I am hesitant to agree. The key to making this service successful will be making messenger convenient to use, otherwise people won’t use it, even if it is a free service. Ideally, the facebook app would have to be integrated into the cell phone, and that process has already begun with the Facebook Messenger for Andriod 2.0, which sends your texts to messager and your traditional SMS client. More about this version of messenger can be found here: http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/20/3364142/facebook-messenger-for-android-sms-threading. Facebook has also given some thought about producing their own smart phones, which if successful, would open lots of different possibilities for messaging services. More about the challenges Facebook faces in entering the cell phone industry can be found here: http://techland.time.com/2012/05/29/facebook-phone-rumored-again-but-fundamental-questions-remain/.
But until we receive more specific information about a Facebook phone, I don’t think that traditional texting will be left behind for Facebook messenger anytime soon. There are already many services that provide free messaging for phones, why should Facebook’s be so different? The new app is only available in Australia, India, South Africa and Venezuela for the moment, and in these areas it is more expensive to send text messages, so it is understandable that this service would be more valuable internationally.