Facebook Messenger for iOS is now even better for chat fanatics

NOTE: GrowthBeat is less than 2 weeks out! VentureBeat is gathering the best and brightest in modern digital marketing to help declutter the landscape, simplify the functions, clarify the goals, and point the way to success. Get the full scoop here, and buy your tickets while they last.

Facebook yesterday updated its standalone Messenger app on iOS to fully support the iPhone 5 and iOS 6, while also adding some useful features for chat addicts.

In addition to general speed improvements, the Messenger app now lets you swipe left to instantly get access to your favorite Facebook chat buddies, as well as to see who’s online. The design of Messenger’s conversations has also been updated with chat bubbles — giving the app a look more reminiscent of IM applications and Apple’s iMessage.

The updates make it clearer who this app is for: hardcore Facebook messaging users. It’s now an even more useful way for Facebook users to chat with their friends without dealing with all of the features in the company’s bigger app.

Facebook last month completely revamped its iOS app with a slew of speed improvements. The social network also recently updated its Android app with an intriguing messaging feature: the ability to combine texts and Facebook messages in a single interface. Unfortunately, that feature will never be possible within iOS, given Apple’s strict restrictions with its software.