August 9, 2011 | by Tony Price
Update 2: I realized that I didn’t talk about availability. This is currently only out in the US and Canada. Facebook says that it will be rolling out to the rest of the world in the near future.
A while back, Facebook bought the fantastic, cross-platform messaging app known as Beluga. Beluga allows users of multiple platforms, like Android and iOS, to send messages back and forth to each other without using their text messaging services. I use and love Beluga, and was interested in what Facebook might do with it.
It seems that Facebook is getting ready to tell the world its plans for Beluga, and those plans are to create Facebook Messenger. Messenger can be best described as a mobile extension to Facebook Chat. You will have the ability to share photos, location, and email as well.
I feel like this could be a widely successful service for Facebook. It seems like everything they try makes them even more powerful, and Messenger should be no exception. They have such a deep market penetration that many people will see this a just another needed part of the Facebook experience.
The issue I always had with Beluga was convincing other people to use it. They didn’t understand why they might want to use it rather than text messages. The benefit that Beluga, and now Messenger, has over texting is the ability to do so with a group. That can really change your real life social interactions.
The timing on this release, and the Beluga purchase a few months ago, seems like a defensive move for Facebook. Google+ has something very similar in their Huddle service. While Facebook did buy Beluga in March, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for them to have known about Google before the public did.
As of this writing, Facebook has not officially launched Messenger. The web page says it will be “available soon.” I suspect that this will be launched into the Market either today or tomorrow. I will update this post as soon as it goes live.
Update: Look what I found!