Facebook says its newly redesigned version of Messenger for iOS uses 84 percent less code and loads twice as fast as the previous version. More importantly, it's easier to navigate, cuts much of the fat, and is more focused on its core purpose: messaging between family and friends.
"A faster start time may not matter as much if you only open an app once or twice a day to play a game or watch a movie," Facebook says in a blog post announcing the update. "But it makes a huge difference when you open an app many times a day to respond to messages from the people who matter most."
What's cooler than a billion? Two billion — Besides loading faster, Messenger is now a 75 percent smaller download. For Facebook, a faster app, and smaller file size, means Messenger will be easier to download and use on older phones or on weaker cellular connections.
Over a billion people already use the app monthly, but getting to the next billion will mean entering markets where consumers are less likely to have the latest and greatest technology. "Lite" versions of apps targeted at emerging markets are common nowadays, but having a single Messenger app that can serve all users is easier for Facebook's engineers, and cheaper for the company. It also claims the simpler app makes it easier to roll out new features.
Snapchat is a test case for smaller apps — Snapchat was notoriously slow on Android phones for a long time, leading to regular complaints from users. After the company released a fully-revamped version of its Android app it saw an "immediate 6 percent increase in the number of people on low-end devices sending Snaps within the first week," TechCrunch reported. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel also credited the redesign with a boost to his company's stock price late last year.
The new version of Messenger sees the app drop the "Explore" tab that promoted business chatbots and mini-games. Messenger now has just two tabs, "Chats" and "People," the latter displays your friends' recent stories and which of them are active and available to chat. Core messaging features like video chat and money transfer are still available, though. The update began rolling out this week, so if you don't have it yet, expect to see it soon.