Discover and chat bots are out, speed and simplicity is in.
What you need to know
- A report has revealed Facebook’s plans to overhaul its Messenger app.
- Developer screenshots show that the Discover tab is on its way out.
- Chat bots, business and games are being hidden from view, and chat bots are being demoted.
Chat bots were central to Facebook Messenger’s strategy three years ago. Now they’re being hidden from view in the app along with games and businesses. Facebook Messenger is now removing the Discover tab as it focuses on speed and simplicity instead of broad utility like China’s WeChat.
The changes are part of a larger Messenger redesign that reorients the People tab around Stories as Facebook continues to try to dominate the ephemeral social media format it copied from Snapchat. The People tab now defaults to a full-screen sub-tab of friends’ Stories, and requires a tap over to the Active sub tab to see which friends are online now.
The change will apparently push users towards more time spent speaking with friends and viewing content, rather than speaking with chat bots, business and playing games. The Discover tab looks to be out, meaning the only tabs you’ll see will be Chat and People. People will have two sub-tabs, one for Stories and one for Active.
According to the report, a Facebook spokesperson has confirmed that this redesign will “soon start rolling out”, and that some of you might already have the update. More rollouts are planned this week. Facebook said it was delivering on its promise in August that it would eventually get rid of Discover.
Features like Chat bots, businesses and games are being hidden, however, now you’ll have to purposefully search for them in the Messenger search bar in order to find them.
The update seems to suggest that Facebook is pushing messenger in the direction of WhatsApp in order to become a streamlined and focused messenger service, rather than a do-it-all utility app like China’s WeChat.
As mentioned, some of you may already have this update, and more of you will get it next week.