When conversations in Facebook Messenger gets a little messy, and many ideas and topics are being sent every second, especially in group chats, it becomes very frustrating not to be able to reply to a thought instantly because new thoughts are flooding through your screen and you lose that message you point your reply to. You wish that there would be some sort of way to tag the specific message so that you can say, without saying, that your answer is meant for it.
But you don’t have to wish anymore; Facebook seems to have heard our prayers and announced today that message replies – a step short of threaded messaging, basically – was launched for more than 1.3 billion Facebook Messenger users around the world to enjoy.
All you have to do is to long tap the message you want to reply to, and a dock with the “reaction” feature will pop up. At the end of the line of emojis for reactions, a new button (if you can call it that) will appear bearing the sign of “reply.” Upon clicking that button, you will be able to reply to the message. Not only that this applies to text messages, but you can also send specific replies to GIFs, videos, emojis, stickers, and photo messages.
The only problem, though, is that it still does not create a thread. It will only reply to one message and replying to a ‘reply’ will create a new message bubble. However, it should not be underestimated as tagging which message you replied a text to goes a long way towards making conversations in Facebook Messenger more manageable and conducive for understanding.
The rolling out of the ‘reply’ feature follows shortly after Facebook Messenger has launched the ‘unsend’ option that gives users the ability to remove the messages they sent within the first ten minutes. According to Facebook, the inclusion of an unsend feature allows users to take back their words that they don’t mean.
RENEWED COMMITMENT TO STREAMLINING AND SIMPLIFYING MESSENGER
It also follows a year in which Facebook has announced its renewed commitment to “streamline” and “simplify” user experience. In a blog post published in January, former Messenger chief David Marcus conceded that the Messenger service became “cluttered” with new and unnecessary features like chat extensions and expanded peer-to-peer payments.
“Over the last two years, we built a lot of capabilities to find the features that continue to set us apart. A lot of them have found their product market fit; some haven’t,” he wrote. “While we raced to build new features, the app becomes too cluttered. Expect to see us invest in massively simplifying and streamlining Messenger this year,” Marcus said in a blog post in January 2018.
The new feature indeed improves and simplifies the Messenger experience. It allows users to communicate better in a conversation with many participants. By adding the function as an option for users, Facebook sends the message that it is committed to making sure that their product is upgrading based on consumer demands and not for profit.
Nonetheless, early this year, Facebook announced its plan to integrate all of its Messenger applications into one end-to-end encryption. These apps include Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram Direct. With this new move, Facebook will allow users to send messages to their friends thru other Messaging apps without having to download it. Reportedly, users will still be able to download each app separately, and Facebook will not launch a mother app that aggregates all members of its messaging family.
Facebook move to integrate its messaging services comes after a study that reveals that WhatsApp had more monthly users on Android and iOS than the Facebook app. Similarly, another study showed that Instagram is more popular among the younger generations.
By integrating these apps, Facebook aims to introduce avid users of one of the apps to other similar messaging services that it provides, ergo gaining more market share. However, since the integration and migration process is yet to be completed, and the feature is not yet available to users, only time can tell if this strategy of Facebook will help in its campaign to streamline and simplify its messaging service. For the meantime, the new ‘reply’ feature is truly a step towards that goal. /apr