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WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram will remain distinct after being unified

Back in January, Facebook triggered much scratching of heads when it was revealed that the company was planning to link Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, to allow users to message each other across the three platforms. Asha Sharma, Messenger’s head of consumer product, has shared a few more details about the plans with us.

“100 years ago, communication was fragmented for telephones, but here we are 100 years later and it’s hard to actually know how to reach somebody, whether it’s on iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook, LinkedIn or something else,” she told Trusted Reviews ahead of Facebook’s F8 conference.

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“We believe it should be easier to reach your friends that are just on Facebook or just on WhatsApp, so we’re working on building an interoperable messaging network.

“We believe that the future is not just privacy-focused but an interoperable network, to be able to communicate with your friends who just use Instagram or just use Facebook.”

There’s no word yet on when this will happen, but the New York Times, which first revealed Facebook’s plans, reported that the company is aiming to complete the process by the end of the year or in early 2020.

It “requires thousands of Facebook employees to reconfigure how WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger function at their most basic levels”, the report added.

One of the presentations at this week’s F8 conference revolved around the raft of new features coming to Messenger, and we asked Sharma if Facebook’s interoperability plans meant that the new features would also make their way to Instagram and WhatsApp at some point in the future.

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“I think there’s a set of utilities that all of our messaging apps should have in order to interoperate, like encryption and maybe message replies, but there’s also a set of features that make your app distinct,” Sharma said.

“It’s why you pick the app. There will still be differences [between Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram], and they’ll continue to look different and feel different, but if you send a message from Messenger to WhatsApp, it should be a high quality experience.”

Are you liking the sound of these plans, or not? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.

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