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12/05/2012

Facebook launches new Android messaging app in Canada

Facebook_messengerFacebook is rolling out its new Android instant messaging app to Canadians, starting this week.

The Facebook Messenger app lets users chat with others people using just the dedicated messaging app – avoiding the slightly heavier full-fledged Facebook app if all they want to do is just chat with friends.

In fact, people don’t even need to have a Facebook account to use the Messenger app.

After getting the newest version of the app, it will create a messenger account using your name and phone number, and then creep your phone's contact list to build a list of messenger contacts. No Facebook account required.

It can then use that information to begin instant messaging your mobile phone contacts over your data connection.

Officially, Facebook says this new feature is part of the company’s “ongoing commitment to the overall messaging experience for users.”

But is there more to that?

Several reports suggest that Facebook is looking at acquiring WhatsApp, a hugely popular (and free) instant messaging app.  

While those rumours have been denied, it seems clear that Facebook is keen on launching an instant messaging competitor as it did this week.

As the company seeks to reach more users on mobile platforms, it nees to tackle users who don't rely on a desktop or laptop computer to check into their social networks. Mobile is a big part of Facebook's future - and the Messenger app helps take them in this direction.

Will you use Facebook’s Messenger app to chat with friends? What instant messaging app do you use?

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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