Facebook brings Chat Heads to Messenger for Android (and it’s not awful)

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Facebook Home’s Chat Heads are coming to Android — only without Facebook Home attached. 

Facebook has added the feature to the latest version of its Android Messenger app, which now works largely the same as it does within Facebook Home: When people send you messages, their Chat Heads pop up over whatever app you’re using. Once you click them,  Messenger app opens up, letting you chat to your leisure.

facebook-chat-heads

Above: A glowing critique, I guess.

I used the feature on a Nexus 7, and the whole experience seemed pretty zippy, and, surprisingly, not at all annoying. This is the same experience VentureBeat’s Jolie O’Dell had when she tried out the function in her review of the HTC First. Somehow, Facebook has found a way to make persistent chat notifications — which I am instinctually wary of — a decent experience. 

Of course, it helps that the chat head notifications don’t hop up and down like they would on, say OS X, nor do they flash alarmingly as they would on Windows. Instead they sit, mostly patiently for you do click, drag, or dismiss them. Color me a fan.

It’s not all perfect, however. One thing Messenger doesn’t handle very well so far is situations where you’re having a conversation with someone across both SMS and Facebook chat. In these situations, Facebook treats multi-source conversations like different threads — even if they’re with the same person. That’s a bit disappointing, and sort of throws a wrench in the largely seamless Chat Heads/Messenger experience.

The whole thing isn’t exactly”people first”, and hopefully it’s something that Facebook fixes somewhere down the line. 

 

 


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