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Engineering Blog
Luiz ScheideggerSoftware Engineer at Facebook

Introducing the Facebook Messenger for Android beta testing program

Posted about 4 months ago

When we introduced Messenger two years ago, we set out to create a great messaging experience that would allow you to connect with friends over many different channels. We worked hard to make it so that you could reach people you care about, no matter if they were on web, mobile, or even via e-mail. A lot has happened since then, and today the majority of people connecting to the Internet for the first time do so on mobile. When we released Messenger 3.0 late last year, we decided to make it a world class mobile-to-mobile messaging platform. This included a complete redesign of the app, with increased focus on speed and reliability, and more tools for people to express themselves in a rich and dynamic way, with features like stickers and audio clips. With Messenger, we want to empower people passionate about messaging with a fast and simple way to communicate with their friends.

Performance and reliability are important aspects of any high quality product. For a messaging product, this is especially true - we want our messages to be delivered to our friends quickly, and reliably. We have learned a lot about improving mobile performance at Facebook, and the Android Beta program is a helpful tool we have at our disposal.

Last June we introduced the Facebook for Android beta testing program, giving people who opt in access to the latest versions of Facebook for Android before the general release. With more than one million daily active users from over 150 countries, the Facebook for Android beta testing program has been successful in giving us feedback to make Facebook for Android more stable. We are now ready to extend our Android Beta testing program to Messenger as well.

Beta program for Messenger

Beginning today, the Facebook Messenger for Android beta program will give people who opt-in access to the latest versions of Messenger for Android before the general release. As with the main Facebook application, our goals with this program are to expand our pool of testers and gain feedback across a more diverse set of devices. Simply by using the app and reporting issues, beta testers will be able to help us improve performance and the overall experience on a wide variety of Android devices at scale.

The beta program will provide us with an early warning system that will help make everyone's experience with the app better, once we push it more broadly. Also, since Messenger is all about private sharing and small groups communication, the beta program will give us another channel to understand what kinds of sharing tools resonate with people using Messenger.

Anyone can join the beta program. When you do, you will get a small batch of fixes and new features every month. We ask that you use your app as you normally would, but submit a report when you encounter a bug or other issue. Because the beta build will have features that are still in progress, the app may be less stable than you're accustomed to. Feedback on stability, as well as any other performance issues you experience, is important to this program and deeply appreciated.

    1) Join the Facebook Messenger for Android Beta Testers Google group: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/messenger-for-android-beta-testers
    2) Allow beta downloads by clicking "Become a Tester" in the Play Store (you need to join the Google Group before becoming a tester)
    3) Download Facebook Messenger from the Play Store to update your app
    4) Turn on automatic updates, as the beta version of Facebook Messenger for Android will be updated multiple times per week

The Facebook for Android beta program has already helped us improve the quality and overall experience of the main Facebook app on Android. We're excited to bring those improvements to Messenger, and to have people who use Messenger participate more in the process of building the best mobile-to-mobile messaging platform.

Luiz Scheidegger is an engineer on the mobile infrastructure team.

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