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Get the new Facebook Messenger for Android

The new Messenger app has dropped its Facebook name prefix, and its jaded blue color. Now, you'll find a freshly designed client masquerading as a standalone chat app.

The old Facebook Messenger icon vs the new Messenger one.

Facebook wants to help you find the fastest way to reach your friends. For instance, "contacts that also use Messenger ... are denoted by a little blue lightning bolt badge," said CNET's Jennifer Van Grove.

Among other major changes, you'll find that SMS support is gone. However, you can send messages to people in your address book that you haven't connected with on Facebook yet. (Yeah, this part sounds a little scary for the stalker types.) This process requires that the recipient provided a phone number on his or her Facebook profile, and that you have that same number for them.

The new friend list in Messenger. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Ready to try it out? Here's how:

Disclaimer: Installing third-party software means taking risks with your device and/or personal information. You will be responsible for any issues caused by the installation, and should only proceed if you are prepared to deal with the resulting consequences.

Before you dive in, make sure you can install third-party software on your Android device. Head to Settings > Security > make sure there's a check mark next to Unknown Sources.

Next, if you have the current version of Facebook Messenger, you'll want to uninstall it. If you don't, you'll get constant reminders to update your new Messenger app (Facebook gave the new app an older version number).

Now you can grab a copy of Messenger from the mirror provided by the crew at AndroidPolice. You can open the following link from your device, or download it on your computer and transfer it later: click here to download the Messenger APK.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Once the APK has made its way to your device, open it to install. As noted in my KitKat keyboard post, if you're having trouble installing, upload the APK to cloud storage and install from there.

An example of the new chat interface of Messenger. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Check it out and leave your thoughts on the redesign in the comments. And if you'd like more details on the new features, check out Jennifer Van Grove's Facebook's Messenger app: Practical is the new sexy.