Messenger; History of messaging app by Facebook

3 Jan 2023

Messenger is one of the social media owned by the Facebook company. It is popular for instant messaging. Also, One can share photos, videos, and group chat through it. It is easy to create an account via. Facebook account or telephone number.

Messenger origin

Facebook started a test of a new instant messaging platform in March 2008. Later, the feature was entitled "Facebook Chat". Facebook then released Facebook Chat in April 2008 to users. In November 2010, Facebook gave a new and improved form to this messaging platform. It announced a program package of the messenger in a limited beta test for windows 7 in November 2011. This program was discontinued in March 2014. Facebook then launched the blackberry version of the platform in March 2014. It released an app for windows phones in March 2014. This was the first messaging app on Facebook. But It lacks some features like voice messaging, and chat heads. Facebook removed the messaging feature from it. To use the messaging feature, one has to install a separate messaging app with the name Messanger.

Releasing versions of Messenger

The facebook-company released an iPad-optimized version of the iOS app of Messenger in July 2014. It launched a website interface for messenger in April 2015. After interfacing, on July 13 of the same year, it released an app for Tizen (a mobile operating system by Linux Foundation). Also, It has launched the Messanger for windows 10 in April 2016. There felt the necessity of messenger in old versions of Android too. So, a stripped-down version of Messenger with a reduced feature set was released in October 2016. This version of the messenger is called Messenger Lite. Facebook extended this package to 132 more countries in April of the next year. In May 2017, Facebook revamped the design for Messenger on both Android and iOS, with tabs and content categorization in a new home screen. Also, its new design has interactive media, red dots indicating new activity, and relocated sections.

The US law has dedicated an age group of 13 years and above to use the social networking site according to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. So, Facebook has announced a new version of Messenger "Messenger Kid" with features suitable for kids under 13 years of age. Also, It has a great difference in comparison with the standard version. The statistics showed that the second most downloaded app was a messenger in 2019. In December 2019, Messenger dropped support using only mobile numbers to sign in. Instead, the user must sign in to the Facebook account to use the service.

History of Messenger's Features

Signing up without a Facebook account:

  • Facebook added this feature in December 2012. Here, the user can sign up for the app only using their name and phone number. The accessibility of this feature was only there in the mobile app primarily for Android users throughout the world.

Direct messaging:

  • With this feature, the user can send a message to any of the users. So, there is no compulsion of being friends. One can also send a message to other users in their contact list. this feature is accessible globally to all platforms ( mobile, and web)

Chat heads:

  • The chat head is a round icon displayed with a contact's profile photo. This feature helps to access the short way to chat with the contact displayed in the chat head. Messenger added globally this feature in the mobile app in April 2013.

Messenger pay:

  • The Facebook company launched this feature for United States users only to send money to their friends and relatives. mobile app in March 2015. Further, it expanded this feature to support group payments in 2017.


  • Initially, Facebook added voice calling to Messenger for users in Canada in January 2013. Later, It extended the feature to users in the United State. After this big success, Facebook introduced video calling only in selected countries in April 2015. Facebook again introduced group voice calling features with 50 maximum call participants in April 2016. Also, It enabled group video calling up to 50 people in December of the same year. Further, Video calling was updated with the ability to add an animated version of Facebook's reaction. These features are accessible globally on all platforms (mobile app and web)

Location sharing:

  • To share the location of the user with friends, Messenger introduced this feature in it. Also, the user can share the location even if they are not present there in the location using this feature. Later, it introduced live location sharing in March 2017. It also helps the user to temporarily share their locations with friends for an hour.

Transportation requests:

  • This feature helps users to request a car directly from the app. Messenger added this feature in December 2015 after integrating with Uber. This feature is only up to United States users.

Multiple Accounts:

  • Facebook added support to multiple accounts in the mobile Messenger app in February 2016. This feature allows users to add multiple accounts to the device. Also, it helps in a convenient way to switch accounts.

"Home" messages pannel:

  • Facebook introduced the "Home" button. The home button is the central location for sending and receiving messages. This feature has the most recent messages as well as the "Favourites" section where all the frequently communicated contacts are listed.

Secret Conversation:

  • Messenger added this feature in October 2016 for mobile users. It is an option to send end-to-end encrypted messages in messenger. Also, One can send self-destructing messages which are deleted permanently after some time.

Instant games:

  • Messenger has added this feature to allow the user to play games like Pac-Man, EverWing, Words with friends frenzy, etc. These games are built on HTML5 and are launched globally for mobile app users in November 2016.

Reactions and Mentions

  •  Reactions through emojis are the best way to express feelings towards the messages and post shortly and attractively. And a particular user can be directly notified by mentioning him or her in the message. Facebook added the feature to Messenger in March 2017 for all platforms (mobile app and web).

Messenger Rooms:

  • Messenger added a video chat feature allowing users to chat with up to 50 people at a time. Recently, Facebook has added this feature to the messenger in April 2020.

In conclusion, more features are likely to be added or reduced as per the users' demand. The facts presented here are based on the research done in 2022.

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