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  • Writer's picturekhareem sudlow

Facebook details Messenger updates: New desktop app, social video, and Project LightSpeed Facebook details Messenger updates: New desktop app, social video, and Project LightSpeed

Ahead of its annual F8 developer conference in San Jose, Facebook has given a glimpse into some of the things it’s cooking up for Messenger in what it touts as a “transition year” for the omnipresent messaging app.

First up, the social networking giant announced Project LightSpeed, which constitutes a completely rebuilt Messenger that it said will be less than 30MB in size — more than two-thirds smaller than the existing Messenger app — and capable of launching in less than two seconds.

It’s worth noting here that Facebook already operates the Messenger Lite mobile app that is around 25MB, however that has broadly been designed for lower-end devices with limited RAM and, ultimately, it has restricted functionality. It appears that Project LightSpeed aims to offer the full features of Messenger, built on an “entirely new code base,” according to Asha Sharma, director for Messenger consumer product, in a blog post.

The company hasn’t given a specific time frame for its launch, but did say that it would “take time to roll out.”

In other news, Facebook revealed that it’s launching a Messenger desktop app for Windows and MacOS. It has offered a desktop app for WhatsApp for several years already, though that really just mirrors a user’s smartphone and lacks key functionality. It sounds like Messenger Desktop will be a proper desktop app, with full functionality such as group chat and video calls.

Above: Messenger desktop app is coming

At any rate, this app is currently being tested, and will launch around the world later in 2019.

Going social

Elsewhere, Facebook also teased a few other updates coming to Messenger, including new social features that build on Mark Zuckerberg’s recently stated mission to become a more private platform. This includes what Zuckerberg referred to as a “digital living room,” and in the case of Messenger, it will mean that users will have a “dedicated space” to find content from the people they message most through Messenger: “Content from Stories to images and videos you share with each other, along with other features we’re building right now,” Sharma wrote.

This is still an early-stage product, Facebook didn’t reveal when it might be made available.

Above: Dedicated space in Messenger for finding content from close friends and family

Related to this is a new social video-watching feature that allows Messenger users to watch videos together at the same time. Again, this fits into the “digital living room” narrative proffered by Zuckerberg last month, and will build bridges between Facebook’s apps as it will enable you to share a video from Facebook onto Messenger, and invite others to join in.

As with the other upgrades, Facebook said that it’s currently testing this new feature, which suggests that it will be piloted with a subset of users first — but the company does plan to launch it globally later this year.

Above: Facebook Messenger: Watch together

It’s clear that 2019 is shaping up to be a big year for Facebook, with reports surfacing back in January that the company was planning to unite its Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram apps, while adding end-to-end encryption to all its properties.

Writing in her blog post, Sharma today reiterated Facebook’s plans for Messenger on that front, saying that it is “committed to making Messenger end to end encrypted by default,” while noting that it will make Messenger work more seamlessly with its other services.

“We are working to be world class for our community for the primary things that people expect in a messaging app,” Sharma said. “We will make Messenger fast, private, interoperable, and a space for close friends and family.”

BruceDayne Enterprise

via VentureBeat April 30, 2019 at 08:14AM BruceDayne, Paul Sawers April 30, 2019 at 08:53AM

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