An update for the Facebook Messenger app on Android released Tuesday will make it easier for non-members to sign up, create an account and begin communicating with their contacts over the service.
Facebook announced that people without accounts in India, Indonesia, Australia, Venezuela and South Africa will be able to create Messenger accounts with just their names and phone numbers over the next few weeks.
The social network's Peter Deng, a product director for the company, said the update is intended to draw in more users from those countries by making it easier to sign up, according to the New York Times. The company is betting that after using their messaging app, new users will want to use the rest of the services available on Facebook.
And with no regard for the fact that Monday was text messaging's 20th anniversary, Deng also said the messaging market is ripe for innovation.
“It’s limited to 160 characters, and it’s not at all rich in its expression,” he said, according to the New York Times. “People want to connect deeply with each other, and they don’t want to be constrained by various technical boundaries and decisions made 20 years ago.”
Facebook has also confirmed to The Los Angeles Times that a similar update is in the works for the iPhone version of the app, but no release date has been set.
[For the record, 8:34 a.m., Dec. 4: An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed Peter Deng as a Facebook engineer, as Facebook listed him in a press release. The social network has corrected itself and informed The Times that Deng is a product director.]