Facebook planning Messenger app redesign with emphasis on Stories, hiding games and chat bots

According to a new report from TechCrunch, Facebook is planning an extensive redesign to its Messenger application on iOS. The goal is to simplify the experience of the app, with a focus on stories and friends, which comes at the cost of certain other features.

Facebook’s strategy with Messenger a few years ago was to push consumers towards communicating with brands and businesses through chat bots. The goal was to entice users to do things like shopping directly in Messenger, but now, Facebook is shifting that strategy.

The new Messenger design removes the “Discover” tab from the app altogether. Discover served as a home for those chat bots along with easy access to brands, games, and other businesses. The removal of games from Messenger has been in the works since last summer, with Facebook migrating to a broader Facebook Gaming platform.

Some of these features will still be accessible via Messenger, but much more hidden, TechCrunch reports:

Chat bots, businesses and games are being hidden, but not completely banished from Messenger. They’ll still be accessible if users purposefully seek them through the Messenger search bar, Pages and ads on Facebook, buttons to start conversations on businesses’ websites, and URL that create QR codes which open to business accounts in Messenger. The spokesperson diplomatically claimed that businesses are still an important part of Messenger.

The new Messenger interface features a two-tabbed design at the bottom: one tab for “People” and another tab for “Chats.” The Chats tab will show all of your active Messenger threads, but the “People” tab will show a list of currently active friends, as well as Stories. The full-screen emphasis on Stories comes as Facebook continues to ramp up its efforts against Snapchat. The Stories format has proven popular on Instagram, and Facebook seemingly wants to replicate that success in Messenger.

Facebook confirmed that it is rolling out the redesign, saying that some users have already received the update and others will see it soon:

When we asked Messenger about the changes, a spokesperson confirmed that this redesign will soon start rolling out, removing Discover and splitting the People tab. Some users already have the update, and more will likely get it this week.

What do you think of this new interface? Do you prefer it over the old design? Let us know down in the comments.

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