As much as Facebook as a service can sometimes aggravate me, Facebook as a company has done little to bother me. Sure, it’s made some moves that I’ve found inconvenient, but none have caused me to make it a mission to complain about it – not even through a simple status update. That track record is soon to be broken, however, with Facebook’s move to force people into adopting its stand-alone Messenger mobile app in order to send messages to friends and family through the service.
I admit that I’m one of the odd ones here – between 100 – 500 million people have downloaded the app on Android, and it currently sits with a 4.2/5 rating. But, I’m not someone who enjoys talking through a mobile IM if I can help it. When I do chat through IM on mobile, it’s in short bursts. For that, the official Facebook app has been great. I never felt that it had to be changed. Facebook doesn’t agree.
The bulk of what I will use Messenger for.
The biggest problem I have with the Messenger app is that it fragments the Facebook experience. It is, in effect, two apps for a single service. I can understand why that might be fine for those who use Messenger a lot, but again, I’m not one of them.
As an Android user, this prospect frustrates me even more. In Android, if you tap a URL or some other protocol in an app, it’ll open up whichever app handles it. The gotcha is that these apps will become linked, so getting back to the original requires multiple taps of the back button, rather than making use of the app-switcher. With the way things were, I could talk to someone inside of Facebook and go right back to the feed – no hassles at all. The entire app was built around the entire Facebook experience, after all.
To counter my own disdain, I can see where Facebook is going with this. Many people treat Facebook as more than just a simple service. For some, it’s the go-to solution for sending someone a message, or to see what other people are up to. At this point, Facebook is more of an ecosystem, much like how on the Google side, someone might use the G+ app to check up on things, but then Gmail to message someone.
Still, I appreciate choice, and Facebook isn’t giving it to me.