Facebook took a lot of criticism for making its standalone Messenger app mandatory. Many feel that a standalone app for messages is unnecessary. Even so, that doesn't make it a bad app or not useful. Here are some of the best features of Facebook Messenger that make it worth using.
Take Pictures or Video Instantly with the Built-In Camera
Taking pictures with a camera shouldn't really be that novel of a feature. However, the Messenger app embeds a small (but expandable) viewfinder in the keyboard section of the app itself. You can use either the front or rear camera and tap the send button to snap a picture — or hold it to take a video — without actually leaving the app. This even works in chat heads so you can take pictures from Facebook Messenger anywhere in the OS.
Image Search Shares Pictures From the Web
Finding pictures from the web and sharing the link is kind of a pain on mobile. It's not impossible, but it can mean jumping between two or three different apps. In Facebook Messenger, you can access Image Search from the drop down menu. Enter a search term and you'll see a list of image results. Just tap one to send it to your message recipient.
Use the Location Feature to Quickly Show Where You Are
Location sharing isn't exactly a high priority on most people's list. However, when you're trying to meet up with friends, temporarily sharing your location can help. Simply enable location for a particular message and it will be tagged with where you are. The other person you're talking to can then press "View Map" on the menu.
Send Quick Audio Notes and Eliminate Voicemail
Sometimes you just need to say something out loud. While voice transcription has made it easier to dictate text messages, you can still share audio clips pretty quickly. Tap the microphone and you'll be presented with a little red button. You can hold down the button to record an audio clip. It will send immediately as soon as you're done.
Use Pinned Group Chats to Find Mass Messages Easier
Group chats are a great way to communicate with a bunch of people at once. Facebook even has one of the better methods for doing so. However, finding an old group chat on the web (or even the old Android app) isn't exactly intuitive. Group chats are typically lumped together with regular chats, so finding them later is a pain. Not so on mobile. Group chats get their own special tab, and you can even pin favourite chats to the top so you never lose them.
Most People You Know Probably Use Facebook
This isn't a feature so much as just the nature of the beast. Facebook takes a lot of criticism (and most of it is well-deserved) over issues like privacy, intrusive ads and the decision to make the separate Messenger app mandatory. But let's be honest: we're still using it. A lot. To the tune of 1.32 billion people every month. While the separate app might be unnecessary, it's still a pretty damn good app. That doesn't solve any of the other concerns we might have about Facebook, but if you're part of that 1.32 billion people who use it anyway, Messenger is a great way to keep in touch with people.