That redesigned Facebook app that we told you about previously? Facebook officially announced today that it is beginning to test the new Android app, which introduces a redesigned user interface and new features, with a limited number of users.
The first notable new feature is the ability to see what friends are currently using the new Messenger app. Facebook notes that these users “will get notified instantly about your message” and you’ll know which users are using the app at a glance by a new icon next to contacts.
One highly requested new feature makes it possible to message people through the app without being friends with that person on Facebook. The redesigned app includes the ability to message contacts that aren’t your Facebook friends using only their phone number:
What about the people you text with who aren’t your Facebook friends? Now you just need a contact’s phone number to begin texting others using Messenger. To help people reach you, you’ll be asked to confirm your phone number.
The app also receives a fresh coat of paint that includes a new swipe out panel on the left for accessing recent conversations, contacts, and settings.
The redesigned app is only rolling out to a limited number of Android users, but Facebook didn’t specify how many or which users might receive the update.