Facebook takes on WhatsApp with chat frills

To woo users away from WhatsApp, Facebook is spicing up its instant messaging application — the Facebook Messenger — with new features such as stickers and chat heads.

With apps such WhatsApp, WeChat and Viber in which friends can exchange free SMS-like messages and fancy frills biting at its heels, the world's most celebrated social network is not feeling what it used to be: cool. So it is adding some of the fancy features.

While Stickers is a collection of pre-made animated images, Chat Heads are pop-ups of friends’ profile pictures on home screen in circular shape. A tap on the pop-up will initiate a chat.

“Facebook Messenger is available standalone on Android and i0S. However, users who do not have Facebook Messenger but only a Facebook app can also receive the chats sent by their friends from Facebook Messenger,” said Kevin D'souza, country growth manager for India at Facebook.

About three-fourth of the Facebook’s 1.1 billion users worldwide access it via mobile phones, while independent chat apps have taken the place of SMSs. Facebook has a lot of catching up to do.

 

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