Facebook is making a big move with its Messenger app, it is now enabling people to use it without signing up for Facebook or logging in. The app will have limited functionality if you're not logged in, but Facebook just wants people to start using it in the hope that they'll get used to it and register or sign in eventually.
Facebook is starting with the Android app and with only a few countries, India, Indonesia, Venezuela, Australia and South Africa, but will expand to more places and include the iOS app eventually.
New features take a long time to reach everyone on Facebook, understandable with one billion users.
Once the app is updated, people will be able to start using it only by providing a name and phone number. They'll only be able to use it to send messages to their phone contacts.
Facebook Messages and the Messenger apps were created with the express mission of replacing email, IM, SMS' and everything else and be the one and only tool for communication online.
Facebook's not quite there yet, but making it possible to use Messenger without an account is a step in the right direction. It is possible to use Messenger as an SMS app already, in some places, and you can expect this feature to be rolled out wider after the update.
Facebook has two main reasons to open up Messenger to more people. For one, it could serve as a way to entice the few people that haven't yet signed up for Facebook to register.
On the other, it's positioning Messenger as a competitor to the number of other popular group messaging apps out there, particularly WhatsApp. There were rumors that Facebook was interested in acquiring WhatsApp, but it seems that Facebook decided to go at it alone.