Yup, mobile users can now view and transmit traditional text messages directly from Facebook’s Messenger mobile app for the Android platform. Basically, this means that text/chat enthusiasts of today will no longer have to switch back and forth from conversations on Facebook Messenger and threads on regular SMS. Now they can do both within the environment of Messenger, but only in Android for now.
Facebook actually has been busy making SMS integration work in Messenger for several years now. As a matter of fact, it was back in 2012 when the social media giant first attempted to find a way to provide support for text messages within its chat messaging platform. A year later, however, the company decided to put the project on hold, probably because at the time, it wanted to focus on increasing the popularity of Messenger as a separate platform from Facebook. Now that Messenger is doing quite well on its own, Mark Zuckerberg and his crew of tech wizards got back to working on SMS integration, and by February early this year, began testing a new version of SMS in the Messenger app.
Fast forwarding to today, and the SMS enabled Messenger is now being deployed to Android mobile users in most countries across the globe. Users only need to head to their settings, tap “SMS” and activate the “Default SMS App” option. After doing so, all their SMS convos will be displayed as purple colored threads in Messenger, alongside their blue colored Messenger threads. Note that users will still be able to receive and view SMS in other mobile apps (even in the standard Android system), but they will be able to send message from SMS, with standard SMS rates applied. Regardless of platform, users can get SMS sent via Messenger, and they will not be able to tell it was not transmitted from a regular text messaging mobile app. However, considering that Apple does not provide much room for developers to be flexible, iOS does not allow people to change their SMS client, and for now, Apple is not planning to bring Facebook’s SMS integration support to iPhone devices.
One thing that makes Facebook’s SMS integration so cool is that once Android users connect SMS to their Messenger app, they will be able to make full use of Facebook Stickers, photos, videos, and even audio, on top of the regular text messages. Users can also view and reply to SMS via Chat Heads, a feature on Messenger that puts chat bubble graphics on top of other apps people are using. As for sending cash, animated GIFs, video calls, VoIP voice calls, and using third party mobile apps for ride sharing, users can only do those within actual Messenger conversations.
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