Facebook Messenger is one of the most widely used chat applications, which is proven by the massive 1 billion+ active user base. Thus, to keep the messaging experience up to speed with the user’s needs, the Facebook team is always out testing experimental new features with its Android Beta program. And today is one of those days as Messenger is now testing a redesigned UI for the message window, which comes packed with the upcoming M assistant in tow. The said development was initially reported by Android Police.
For those unaware, let’s shed some light on M before discussing the test features. M is Facebook’s much-awaited personal assistant that’ll be integrated within the Messenger itself. The assistant has only been made available to a handful of test users, thus, it might be buggy and the UI changes might be visible to those testing the M assistant. They don’t seem to have made their way to my beta app update.
As for the new UI changes, Messenger is aiming to go for a more minimalistic and modern vibe but has completely failed to do so. It has tried to compact all major UI elements into a single functional row but the same looks cluttered and reduces the functionality. It has shrunk the size of the message box to now accommodate other UI elements like camera, gallery, voice & now an additional ‘+’ button in one row.
Earlier, you had a snappy two row setup where the bottom row was completely a text box with the emoji and send button, while the upper row included all major add-on features. With the UI change, you might be getting more reading space for messages but no one asked for it. And the need of the hour is an easy experience as opposed to a clumsy and cluttered one. It only does one phenomenal job of moving emojis, stickers and GIFs under one roof. The rest of the functions now take two or more taps to reach.
In addition, this beta update bring along the much-awaited Facebook ‘M’ into the mix. But, before you get all hyped up, let me tell you it isn’t the complete thing. It, as Android Police says, doesn’t perform most functions you would want from an AI chatbot but only surfaces when some form of greeting is seen on the message window. And that also is finicky due to this being a beta build. So, you’ll have to wait a little longer to get acquainted with the true capabilities of the M assistant in Messenger.
There are also several other bug fixes as well as improvements in Messenger, but it’s important to note aforementioned UI changes are just a test and may never see the light of day via an official release.