Facebook posits that it's hard for us to know when our friends are available at home or on their mobile phones, and that choosing how we want to communicate can be confusing: do we send a text message, an email, or do we try to connect to our friends on Twitter? Facebook has already positioned themselves to be a central hub for communication — you have the choice to choose how you want to talk to your friends on Facebook (through your preferred medium). To make things simpler, Facebook is rolling out Facebook Messenger for iPhone, a separate app with a great icon and streamlined interface for instantly connecting to your friends. We'll be updating past the break shortly with screenshots, impressions, and more information, but in the meantime you can download the app via the link below.
Facebook's Messenger app is dead simple to use: start typing a friend's name then send them a message. If your whole life is on Facebook between friends, family, pictures, and whatever else you do, Messenger is going to be a fantastic alternative to the future iMessage and to other services whom provide similar chatting functionality — Facebook's benefit is that you can view your entire conversation history thanks to Messages. And like group chatting applications (Beluga for example), you can message a group of friends so you can make plans, find each other at a rock concert, or have a conversation at the kitchen table (since let's face it — nobody speaks face to face anymore). With groups (and location), you can also see where all your friends are, whether they're at work or at home on the couch. It's neat — now you'll know how late your friends are for the movie you were supposed to catch.
Messenger is very fast, and the location button (seen in the first screenshot to the left) in the text field makes it really easy to stay private or share your location with others. Just like most apps that include a photo button, you can quickly snap a picture and upload it to Facebook as well. In the settings, you can turn off alerts so you won't be disturbed "until the morning", or if you're in a class or at a meeting you can turn messages off briefly (for an hour). The app is fast and animations are very fluid. If you use Facebook a lot, this separate app is going to be great (especially if it's the only way you communicate with friends). Hanging out with your college buds just got a whole lot better.