Facebook Embraces SMS, but Chat Apps Are Still the Future

June 20, 2016 - 2 minutes read

Facebook recently turned heads among Android app developers with the rollout of SMS support in Facebook Messenger, a development that flies directly in the face of the companies pushback against what the social media titan considers an “outdated technology.” The feature has been testing since early this spring and the feature — which allows users to peruse SMS and Messenger apps in the same interface — is now officially rolled out for Android devices.

While some Toronto Android app developers might see this as a step back in the chat app revolution, the move is more likely simply a strategy to earn more user dependency on the platform. While Facebook may consider SMS to be dead, pretty much everyone still send and receives some percentage of their daily text communications over SMS. Therefore, syncing the platforms can be seen as a similar strategy as Google’s combination of Hangouts and SMS on Android. For Facebook, whose acquisition of chat app giant WhatsApp positions them as a presumptive market leader in the growing US chat app userbase, the implications of the combination is sure to be much greater.

In the context of the company’s phasing out of messaging in the main Facebook app and the continued push for native content via Instant Articles, introducing SMS is just one more step in the company’s quest to have a hand in everything you do online. For Android app developers, is the convenience worth the sacrifice of privacy? Is it safe to depend so heavily on a single platform for so many daily needs? For now, the affect of Facebook’s ongoing growth in the chat app industry remains to be seen.

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