Facebook Messenger version 1.7 is out: Now it's a BBM killer

Facebook Messenger version 1.7 is out. You can now text friends for free using your existing data plan, know who's read your messages and who hasn't, as well as see where your friends are.

Hot on the heels of a leak showing off Facebook Messenger for iPad and more talk of the app getting video calling support, Facebook today released Facebook Messenger version 1.7. You can grab it now for Android from the Google Play store and for the iPhone on Apple's App Store. Finding a link for the BlackBerry version on RIM's BlackBerry App World is proving difficult, so it's possible the BlackBerry flavor has not been updated.

Here is the official changelog for Facebook Messenger for Android version 1.7.001:

Now it's even easier to reach groups of friends on the go:

  • Text friends for free, using your existing data plan
  • Reach friends wherever they are now – on their phone or the web
  • Know who's seen your message, and who hasn't
  • See where friends are messaging you from

The Facebook Messenger for iPhone version 1.7 changelog is identical, plus two more points:

Also includes:

  • Typing indicator – see when your friend is replying
  • Bug fixes

Now that you can send free texts using your existing data plan and that you can see when your friends have read your messages, I have to say that this the app that will kill BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).

Mind you, this is exactly what I thought it would turn into when Facebook acquired Beluga and released it as Facebook Messenger last year. These additional features have, however, sealed the deal.

Of course, some will complain about how their friends can see when they have read messages sent to them. Just like on BBM, you can't turn this feature off. You can, however, hide your location. Sharing that information is optional, just like on Facebook itself. Overall though, I think these will be seen as welcome improvements.

As already mentioned, I can't find any details on the Facebook Messenger for BlackBerry version (I tried to update the app on my Bold 9900, but no dice). This might be because Facebook Messenger now has all the key BBM features, and then some. Is Facebook avoiding updating the BlackBerry version on purpose?

I have contacted Facebook and will update you if I hear back.

Update at 4:00 PM PST: "Today we're rolling out the new features on iOS and Android," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "We're looking at enabling these for Blackberry, but have no timing to share."

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