Facebook just announced the launch of its new messaging app for Android and iOS devices.

Facebook has been working on new messaging services for a while now, starting with the announcement of its new and enhanced messaging system last November. Earlier this year, Facebook also bought the group messaging app Beluga and it looks like that acquisition is now starting to pay dividends. Today, Facebook announced Messenger, its own, Facebook-branded messaging app for iOS and Android.

According to Beluga’s co-founder and now Facebook employee Lucy Zhang, “messaging should be easy” and you shouldn’t have to think whether you should email or text a person. Instead, says Facebook, “you should be able to write a message, click “Send” and know that you will reach the person right away.” Messenger tries to approximate this goal by delivering notifications and texts to your friends through whatever means you are connected to them.

There is nothing highly exciting about the messaging app as such. It’s not available in the iTunes store yet, so I can’t review it in detail. Judging from Facebook’s screenshots, though, it’s a capable group messaging app with some interesting location-sharing features built-in.

Why a Stand-Alone App?

Why did Facebook decide to create this as a stand-alone app, though, and didn’t integrate it into its existing apps? Facebook’s Lucy Zhang says that it’s meant to simplify the process, as you just have to click once and can start messaging right away. This seems like a pretty good reason, but it would still be nice if Facebook also offered the same functionality within its flagship app as well.