Facebook is rolling out a brand new model of Messenger for iOS from immediately, constructed with velocity and responsiveness firmly in thoughts. The upgraded app, constructed on a brand new code base, additionally lays the muse for Facebook’s beforehand said aim to unite all its apps and make it attainable for individuals to message between Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
The new model of Messenger was constructed below an inside program referred to as Project Lightspeed, which Facebook introduced at its annual F8 convention final April.
Facebook first siphoned off Messenger into its personal standalone app means again in 2011, and arrived by itself devoted net area 4 years later. For context, the prevailing Messenger app for iOS had a binary measurement of 130MB at its peak, in line with Facebook, whereas the brand new incarnation is a mere 30MB — roughly 75% smaller.
To allow this, Facebook stated that it decreased the app’s code by 84%, shifting from greater than 1.7 million strains to round 360,000. The firm additionally used this chance to trim and simplify the app, together with eradicating the variety of variations of the contact record within the app from 40 to only one — prior to now, the contact record was displayed in varied methods throughout the app relying on elements resembling whether or not the person was trying to find a contact or including somebody to a dialog; Project Lightspeed served because the bedrock to create an easier contact record template.
It’s price noting right here that this replace constitutes a part of a broader Messenger overhaul that has been ongoing for quite a few years now. This features a less complicated interface with simply two major tabs — People and Chats — on the backside, and no Discover tab.
Above: New Messenger app, sans Discover tab, will proceed rolling out
For background, Facebook launched the Discover tab almost three years in the past, and it was designed to assist customers discover new chatbots and companies. However, final 12 months Facebook revealed plans to ditch the Discover tab altogether. The redesign has been rolling out incrementally for a number of months already, and the corporate confirmed to VentureBeat that it is going to be launching for much more individuals beginning this week.
However, it’s what is going on below the hood that’s arguably crucial issue at play right here. A smaller app ought to translate right into a quicker expertise for the person, together with load instances and downloads. This is especially vital for these on older iPhones or in areas the place quick connectivity is much less considerable — fewer megabytes means faster app updates.
“We rebuilt our features to fit a new simplified infrastructure,” famous Raymond Endres, VP of engineering at Messenger, in a weblog publish. “While we kept most of the features, we will continue to introduce more features over time. Fewer lines of code makes the app lighter and more responsive, and a streamlined code base means engineers can innovate more quickly.”
Rewriting a complete codebase was a serious endeavor, ultimately consuming the effort and time of greater than 100 engineers. But the choice to proceed with Project Lightspeed was finally prodded by early testing that highlighted how massive an impression the rewrite would have on the tip person.
“In most cases, the enormous effort required to rewrite an app would result in only minimal, if any, real gains in efficiency,” added Facebook engineer Mohsen Agsen. “But in this case, early prototyping showed that we could realize significant gains, which motivated us to attempt something that’s been done only a few times before with an app of this size. It was no small undertaking.”
It’s price stressing right here that this newest app replace could be very a lot particular to iOS. Facebook’s Android Messenger app is already pretty svelte at round 40MB, whereas the corporate has provided a good lighter-weight Messenger Lite app for a number of years. Facebook does provide a Messenger Lite app for iOS too, however that has by no means expanded past Turkey. The firm wouldn’t affirm what the longer term holds for Messenger Lite, however with the brand new Messenger arriving on the scene, it’s unlikely that Messenger Lite for iOS will likely be launching in any new markets quickly.
An organization spokesperson additionally confirmed to VentureBeat that whereas it’s constructing the Messenger app with every cell platform’s “unique strengths” in thoughts, it’s also planning so as to add a few of Project Lightspeed’s components to Android sooner or later — this may doubtless embody creating a brand new server framework and constructing the app in a “reusable” means.
Last March Facebook cofounder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg penned a public post outlining his imaginative and prescient for a extra privacy-focused social community, a lot to the web’s amusement. Part of this entails constructing end-to-end encryption into all of its merchandise and making them interoperable — that’s, individuals on any of Facebook’s properties will ultimately be capable of talk with one another no matter which Facebook-owned app they’re utilizing. And that is partly what Project Lightspeed is about.
“LightSpeed not only makes the app smaller, faster and simpler for our users, it also lays the foundation to fulfill our vision for private messaging and interoperability across apps, allowing us to scale our messaging experience in the future,” Endres stated.
The new light-weight Messenger app will likely be rolling out beginning immediately, and can proceed over the following few weeks.