How Facebook Messenger blew up my iPhone

How Facebook Messenger blew up my iPhone

Summary: Facebook launches its stand-alone version of Facebook Messenger for iPhone and Android, but not without hiccups and privacy concerns related to it's ability to share and edit your contacts on your phone.

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I was one of many folks whose smartphone was bombarded after installing the new Facebook Messenger app, a stand alone version of the Facebook messaging platform also included in the main Facebook application. To the dismay of many smartphone users including myself, my contacts on my phone in some cases were showing up in triplicate. For us geeks, nothing is more maddening that duplicate entries of anything, whether it be notifications, emails or contacts. I won't go on and on about this as many people already are on their blogs but it does bring up a couple questions and again unearths some more of the immature development practices still prevalent at Facebook. Here are a couple thoughts/questions I have for Facebook regarding their decision to break out one of their functions as a stand alone app: What is Facebook hoping to accomplish by doing this? The main Facebook application's value both personally and in business is the fact that everything Facebook is included in one app, requiring one download, using one icon when installed, based on one website. Other than some sort of deeper strategy unbeknownst to us social network lemmings, I can't for the life of me figure out why they are cluttering up their own offering and losing sight of the "keep it simple" philosophy that works for some of the biggest tech companies in the world.

What is REALLY going on? One thought had crossed my mind in that after Google+ was launched, with their ability to grow quickly because of their pre-existing ownership (I use that term loosely) of millions of email addresses and calendars, was Facebook looking to compete with Google in the email messaging space with a goal of turning Facebook Messenger into a default email platform? It wouldn't surprise me and would definitely play nice with their user base but who in their right mind wants to compete in an old communication landscape like email, especially when that space is already owned by the big three?

If you are going to infiltrate your customer's smartphone... During the installation, at least let the customer know what is going on. When I downloaded the Facebook Messenger app from the iTunes store, there was no obvious warning that magical things were being done with my contacts after I had installed it. If I saw a step in the process like a window popping up saying, "Thanks for using Facebook Messenger. We'd like to sync up your Facebook contacts with your iPhone. Is this ok with you?" I would've felt better about it. Secondly, if their application is going to do this, they need to design the process in a way that checks for duplicates and either prompts you to skip, keep, or replace the contact entry. Installing the application and then finding my contacts all duped without knowing what happened is pretty unnerving and is a well-known and repeatedly proven bad user experience.

Hopefully Facebook can start working on a more mature version of their own SDLC and user testing because if they don't, bad (and sometimes scary) installation experiences will negate the fact that their customer base is so huge, eventually rendering them the Walmart of social networks.

Other posts about Facebook Messenger you should check out

How Facebook got your phone number (and how to take it back)

Leaked: Facebook Messenger to get video calling

Facebook launches Facebook Messenger app for Android, iPhone

Topics: iPhone, Android, Collaboration, Google, Mobility, Social Enterprise

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4 comments
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  • awh nah... i just installed that crap!

    now i'm scared to look at my contacts...
    doctorSpoc
  • "an old communication landscape like email"???

    Wow.

    Wow oh wow oh wow.

    Ha! Unreal. The article itself was only mildly interesting, but, that line "an old communication landscape like email" wins the latest prize for "IT tech savvy guy being way out of touch with Joe Average".

    I realize, that in terms of the latest greatest web tech, email is now conventional and to some degree, old school. But in the world of Mr. & Ms. Average who have businesses to run in the real world email is not only the most modern practical communications methods, its integrated into the business world to such a great degree that its not going to change any time soon.

    Sorry about that to the tech savvy who ride every new wave of tech like its the only proper way of doing things, but thats just the way it is. Its not like I made up the rule or something, its just the reality of the real world that far far too many writers here just cannot get their heads around.

    We really need to have some sort of set of truths that exist in the non-tech savvy real world where most humans live so that writers here can get their head around whats really going on in the world and whats actually important to the "outside" world and the humans in it. While everything of course is on some kind of a bell curve continuum, and obviously doesn't apply like some kind of rigorous doctrine, there are certain general truths about the average man on the street that causes them to think and act, on the average, in a significantly different way then tech savvy people, most particularly those tech savvy people who work and live in the high tech world, and even more so in relation to many of the writers here who honestly have to know and live by the latest and greatest tech if they want to stay relevant in their own field.

    Such as:
    1. People don't understand the significance of "updating". They now seem to understand a little better then past years the computers operating system has to be updated to stay secure, but they still don't put it all together in their mind that most software has to be updated, web browsers, flash players, all kinds of things, they just haven't had it sink in yet.

    2. People generally, often only have the most rudimentary understanding what an operating system is. That, in all its endless degrees of understanding leads to all kinds of interesting conundrums.

    3. Most people do not follow to ANY degree about advantages/disadvantages of various bits of hardware, software and tech. They go to a store, some guy there gives his spin and they go with that, along with whatever their best friend/uncle/ significant other/ parent/school chum or co-worker told them.

    4. Most average people simply don't care, at all about many of the technical details about why one bit of hardware is better or worse then another. And certainly, no where near the degree that most writers around here rightly do, for writers here, its their business, for those in the real world its a niggling detail they could care less about.

    5. In the real world, where people don't sit around and argue nit picking details about what makes one platform marginally better in some area than another, they don't have the kinds and numbers of problems people who post here claim they do. Piles of people who post responses to articles here are simple outright liars in order to justify their choice of software and/or hardware. Its not needed. For example, I know people who use Macs and people who use Windows. Both are happy and neither have any significant or major problems. Both are happy and people who dwell here and claim horrible ghastly flaws in either platform are clearly liars because for one, they should have enough knowledge to know better, and secondly, those who live in the real world do not have those problems. If I see one more liar post a response to an article on ZDNet where they talk about how they have to spend all their weekends cleaning all the viruses out of their friends and families Windows computers I will vomit. Any tech expert who has to spend any time doing that would be the last person on earth I would ever hire to do any IT work for me. In the outside world people generally know how so simply secure their computers and only the true idiots, or really unlucky run into trouble.

    There are endless truths that exist in the real world, as opposed to the world of so called experts. And far far to often I see articles and even more so in response posts, nonsense based entirely on an "experts" view that will never pan out in the real world.
    Cayble
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