Facebook updated its Messenger for Android, to enable customers to use it without the need for a Facebook profile – potentially extending its reach beyond its existing social networking user base.
With the newly-updated app, users only need to add a name and telephone number. It is said to enable consumers to “reach your contacts faster, start group conversations, share photos and more”.
The change came shortly after there was a – subsequently denied – report claiming that Facebook is looking to acquire WhatsApp to boost its messaging credentials.
According to an earlier analysis by Distimo, while Facebook is strong globally, it is facing competition from a number of messaging-led social apps.
This is especially true of Asia, where it is up against competition from rivals such as LINE, WeChat and Viber.
SFGate said that the updated app can initially be downloaded by customers in India, Indonesia, Australia, Venezuela and South Africa, but wider availability will follow.
In addition, the Indian launch is reported to be “in partnership with a carrier” – which has not so far been named.
While the app does not require a Facebook account, the company is clearly hoping that once using its messaging products, new customers will sign-up for its services.