Facebook Messenger app revamp touted to save on data usage, sending errors

Facebook's engineering team is shining a light on a number of stats and lessons learned when building a high-quality real-time application.


In reflection of its ongoing mobile-first quest, Facebook has been splintering popular features into standalone apps — much to the chagrin of some users.

Regardless, Facebook engineers don't take building out the back-end infrastructure of these spinoffs lightly, especially when it comes to resources that might be taken for granted by both developers and end users alike.

But in this case, it appears Facebook is mindful of the extra impact a standalone Messenger app might have on its substantial mobile membership base.

Facebook software engineers Jeremy Fein and Jason Jenks reflected in a blog post on Thursday about the burden previous iterations of the Messenger app put on smartphone performance and data usage, evolving into a costly nuisance for consumers with expensive data plans and limited bandwidth.

Since the end of last year, the pair recalled, Facebook mobile engineers have been retooling Messenger's back-end infrastructure, reconfiguring how data is processed in order to support a new (and hopefully more efficient) synchronization protocol.

They continued:

When building a high-quality real-time mobile application, it’s important to remember that the network is a scarce resource that must be used as efficiently as possible. Every byte wasted has a very real impact on the experience of the application. By sending less data and reducing HTTPS fetches, apps receive updates with lower latency and higher reliability. Extending desktop-focused infrastructure for a mobile world could work well, but building new mobile first infrastructure with protocols designed for pushable devices offers even better experiences.

Facebook engineers boasted progress has already been made, with initial results revealing non-media data usage reduced by 40 percent and a 20 percent drop in the number of people who experience errors when trying to send a message.

The native mobile Facebook Messenger experience is available for free for iOS, Windows Phone and Android.

Image (edited) via Facebook

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