Originally developed as Facebook Chat in 2008, the company revamped its messaging service in 2010, and subsequently released standalone iOS and Android apps in August 2011. Over the years, Facebook has released new apps on a variety of different operating systems, launched a dedicated website interface, and separated the messaging functionality from the main Facebook app, requiring users to use the web interface or download one of the standalone apps. Users can send messages and exchange photos, videos, stickers, audio, and files, as well as react to other users' messages and interact with bots. The service also supports voice and video calling. The standalone apps support using multiple accounts, conversations with optional end-to-end encryption, and playing games.
At F8 2019, Messenger's head of consumer product Asha Sharma announced that in the future, users will soon be able to send messages across Facebook's three different messaging platforms: Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.
This interoperability is just one of many features of the new Messenger. All messages will also be end-to-end encrypted, which is part of Facebook's recent privacy-focused mantra. Sharma said that the inter-app messaging will work similar to how people make calls on phones today. You don't need to know if your friend is on Verizon or T-Mobile, you can just call them. It'll be the same on any of Facebook's messaging services -- just say you'll want to talk to your friend, and that message will get to him or her on whatever service they use.
It's unclear just yet when this will roll out to users. Zuckerberg said it could take quite some time, which might mean next year or later.
The desktop version of Messenger will include audio calls, group video calls, and other features that are familiar from the mobile version. It's likely based on Messenger.com, a web-based version of Facebook Messenger that has long been a faster alternative to using Messenger from Facebook's web interface.