Hey everyone, I apologize for the lack of posts recently. It has been a crazy month at work so I had to take an unexpected a break from writing. I'm back now though, and I've got another great app! I'm going to pick up where I left off in a way. My last post was about Beluga, a group messaging app owned by Facebook. They have since released their own Facebook branded group messaging app, and if you are one of the 750 million people (or whatever it is now) who use Facebook I highly recommend it!
If you read my Beluga review, then Facebook Messenger will seem VERY familiar to you because it is practically Beluga 2.0. As you will see in the images below the, UI is slightly different as are some settings, but if you used Beluga you should be able to easily switch to Facebook Messenger without getting lost.
One of, the biggest changes from Beluga is that in Messenger, the chat flows from the bottom up, just like most every other messaging app you've probably used. Even though it didn't bother me much while I was using Beluga, now that it's "normal" so to speak, I much prefer this style over Beluga's top-down style. This may sound petty, but it really can be distracting to have one app different from the rest.
The group members screen is pretty straight forward. Just a list of those in the group with the option to add more people. You can add people from Facebook or from your phone's address book, or even type their number in. If you have a FB friend that is signed into FB Chat, you can only get them a message through FB Chat. If not, you can have it forward to their phone number or, you can just choose their number to add to the group. However, in order to add them to a group by phone number, they must be in your phone's address book.
The Map, just like Beluga, and Disco before that, shows a map with points on it showing the location of all the members of the group. The blue dot is the "You are here" icon, in case you have forgotten where you are. So if you get lost, just open Messenger, send a message tagged with your location, and then look at this map, see, now you aren't lost!
There are not very many settings for the group, less even than Beluga actually. In Beluga you could set a time and date for the Pod (group), presumably a way of scheduling meetings. This feature was removed when they created Messenger though, and all you are left with is the ability to change the name, image and if you want to receive new message notifications or not.
The settings menu is also rather simple. Though there are actually more settings in Android as the iOS version doesn't to allow you to adjust the sound/light/vibrate/ringtone. I highly doubt this will be a make it or break it point though. If it makes you feel better, the points on the map look cooler in iOS, so now you're even right?
My biggest complaint about Messenger (as well as Beluga and a lot of other apps) is they obviously spent more time on the UI of the iOS version since it is more polished than the Android version. Please no Android vs iOS war over this, I'm just saying I've seen really nice looking Android apps, people just tend to not put in the effort for whatever reason.
All in all I think Messenger is the best of the group messaging apps that I've used, especially since chances are if you are reading this you are on Facebook, as are most of your friends, thus making this an ideal app as it allows flawless integration between mobile, desktop and sms.
~ The Geeky Farmer ~