Today marks the beginning of this year's F8 developer conference from Facebook, and the company had a few interesting details to share in regards to its Messenger service. For starters, the company reaffirmed its plans to bring its messaging platforms - from Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp - together. This will allow users to stay in touch regardless of what platform they use.
Facebook is also working on a revamped Messenger app, which it's referring to as LightSpeed. LightSpeed is a completely new version of the Messenger app, built from the ground up on a new codebase. The objective is for the app to offer all the same features as the current version of Messenger does, but in a much lighter package, coming in at about 30MB. It will also launch in under two seconds, according to the company. Granted, Facebook already offers Messenger Lite, which is even smaller, but that app has some limitations in its feature set.
While Project LightSpeed sounds great, it's not clear when it will be available for users to try. Facebook's blog post says it will "take time to roll out" without giving any clear time frames.
But mobile devices aren't the only ones getting some love. Facebook also announced a new desktop app for both Windows and macOS. You may know that Facebook does have a Messenger app on Windows 10, but it doesn't really fit Microsoft's design language, and it hasn't evolved in line with the mobile variants of the app.
This will be a native app on both platforms, and not a port using Facebook's tools as the current version of the app. Facebook didn't provide a clear shipping date for the desktop apps, but it did say they're coming this fall.
Facebook is also trying to make Messenger a more social platform. Part of this effort is a new Friends tab in the Messenger app which gives users access to content from their friends, such as Stories, or photos and videos. This content will be drawn from all of Facebook's platforms, including Instagram and Facebook, but will be exclusively for your friends, so you won't see public content. Additionally, friends will also be able to watch videos together during a video call on Messenger.