Facebook Just Introduced Messenger 4, a Simplified Version of Its Flagship Messaging App

9 tabs have been cut to 3, and the Camera is now on top

The Android version of Facebook's new Messenger 4 Facebook

Move fast and break things” has apparently given way to “keep it simple” for the team behind Facebook Messenger.

Vice president of Messenger Stan Chudnovsky unveiled Messenger 4, a new, simplified version of the social network’s flagship messaging application, in a Newsroom post.

Chudnovsky wrote that a recent study by his team revealed that 71 percent of respondents believe simplicity is the top priority for them in messaging apps and 62 percent said messaging makes them feel closer to friends and family.

On that note, Messenger 4—which will “gradually roll out globally over the coming weeks”—will have three tabs instead of nine:

  • Chats, which will contain all one-on-one and group conversations.
  • People, where users can find friends, browse Stories and see which of their contacts are currently active.
  • Discover, where people can connect with businesses, play Instant Games, book vacations, stay up to date on the news and engage in other activities.

Visual communications features, including Messenger Camera, now appear at the top of the application, for easier access and quicker selfies.

Chats on Messenger could already be personalized with nicknames, emojis and chat colors. Messenger 4 adds color gradients, which enable people to use multiple colors to customize the chat bubbles in their conversations.

Colors can change as conversations are scrolled through, and users can change color gradients at any time.

Color gradients in the iOS version of Messenger 4

Chudnovsky said Messenger 4 will be rolled out in phases in order to give users time to adapt to the changes, adding that one of the updates pegged for the “near future” is Dark Mode, similar to Twitter’s Night Mode, which cuts down on glare from smartphone screens.

Dark Mode, coming soon to Facebook Messenger

He added, “While Messenger 4 is all about simpler and easier-to-use messaging, we’re still keeping all of the features that help you connect with the people you care about. Whether you want to poll your friends on which movie to see, split the bill for last night’s dinner, share your live location to find friends at a music festival, challenge them to your favorite games or catch up in a group video chat, we aren’t changing anything about what you’ve always loved about Messenger.”

The last big revamp for Messenger came in May 2017, when tabs for message threads, contacts that are currently active and groups were moved to the top of the home screen, while the redesigned bottom bar provided access to the home screen, voice and video calling, the Camera button, people and games.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.