The Facebook Messenger app for Windows Phone has received an update that brings significant performance improvements along with the ability to message people using their mobile numbers from within the app. The update, version 188.8.131.52 for those keeping score at home, is the latest evolution in the Messenger app where Facebook wants to be your one-stop shop for messaging friends on the social network as well as those not on it. The browser war may be over but the messenger war rages on between Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype and others.
The updated Facebook Messenger now allows you to tap People to sync your phone contacts. This feature, which is disabled by default, will allow you to have your Messenger contacts appear in your People Hub and be synced to your Windows Phone. Some will like this idea as you have all of your contacts in one place while others will want to keep their People hub de-cluttered by keeping
Facebook contacts separate. Regardless of how you feel about it, this now brings the Facebook Messenger app for Windows Phone on par with iOS and Android which is never a bad thing.
In addition, you can now enter anyone’s phone number in the app and start texting them from the app. No longer do you necessarily have to go into the Messages app to get SMS messages and Facebook Messenger for your Facebook messages. The idea is to be that one place you go for your text-based communications. Again, some will like this idea while others will want to keep it separate but you have the option.
Finally, you can add colorful drawings and tests to photos from your camera roll before you send them. The ability to add color drawing is something that came in an update to the app a few months ago and now Facebook has expanded that feature. You can add text or drawing to a photo in your camera roll to highlight something it as an example.
While the new features are nice, the performance improvements in this update of Facebook Messenger deserve a mention as well. Having tested the update this morning, load times are significantly better while overall performance swiping between conversations has also noticeably improved. If you use the app you will definitely want to get this update for this reason alone, even if the other features don’t have much appeal to you.
Facebook Messenger is a free app and requires you have a Facebook account to use. It is supported on 512MB devices.