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Facebook Messenger on Android gets a Google-inspired facelift

Facebook gives its Messenger app on Android a new look and feel that seems to draw on Google's Material Design principles.

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A new solid-blue navigation bar appears at the top with white icons for timeline, groups, people and settings.

Image: Facebook

After months of testing, Facebook has rolled out a new Material Design-inspired version of Messenger on Android.

The update, which launched yesterday on Google Play, takes a leaf from the modern design principles that Google laid out in 2014 and has since applied to its own apps on iOS, Android, and the web.

Why 800M people (including me) are warming up to Facebook Messenger

I'm begrudgingly willing to admit that Facebook Messenger is becoming the "one app for all communications" that calls people, not numbers, which I always wanted regardless of device choice.

The two main changes to Messenger are a new solid-blue navigation bar at the top with white icons for timeline, groups, people, and settings. This strip replaces the old white bar at the top with grey icons. The same goes for the status bar, which is now blue with white text and action icons.

The older design also employed a blue bar but that was located at the bottom, offering an entry point to search and start a new chat.

That feature has now been replaced by a blue circle with a plus symbol, known in Material Design parlance as a floating action button, as seen in apps such as Hangouts, Inbox, and a few others from Google on iOS and Android.

Facebook Messenger boss David Marcus announced the design makeover on social media.

"If you're using Messenger on Android, you've been wanting a brand-new material design for a bit. Any major redesign of an essential app used by hundreds of millions of people around the world is painstakingly hard, and that's why we took every precaution to ensure you'd truly enjoy this evolution," Marcus said in a Facebook post.

Facebook doesn't appear to have introduced any new features to its Android chat app.

The Facebook Messenger team have been testing the new design elements over the past few months, so some users may already be familiar with the finished product that has just been rolled out globally.

Interestingly, as The Next Web noted, while Facebook's Messenger on Android now looks distinct from its app on iOS, employing Material Design on Android has resulted in a very similar look to Google's own Messenger app on Android, albeit in a different shade of blue.

Read more about Facebook Messenger

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