Facebook Makes All Users Switch to the Standalone Messaging App

Over the next few days, if you go to send a message through Facebook's smartphone app, you'll see the alert shown above. Starting this week, Facebook is fully unbundling its messaging service, as part of its move to become a network of related apps.

Facebook started bouncing messages to the standalone app for some European users back in April, but starting this week the company is moving all users to download Messenger. CNET says you'll still be able to see pending messages from the main Facebook app, but the Messaging button will now direct you to the dedicated app—or encourage you to download it if you haven't.

The Messaging app first rolled out way back in 2011, and it's been optional for users since it debuted. Facebook says the dedicated chat app has about 200 million users—but clearly they want all 1.1 billion mobile Facebook users to transition to Messenger.

Why move to a separate app? Facebook says the dedicated setup is 20 percent faster than messaging from the main app, allowing support for expanded features like photo, video, group conversations and voice calls. All of that might be true, but it's also contributing to the increasingly frustrating and convoluted world of Facebook services. Pretty soon, it seems like you'll need a whole dedicated app folder just to hold them all. [CNET]