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Facebook opens access to early builds of Messenger for Android

In exchange for reporting bugs, guinea pigs will get access to experimental features before anyone else.

Facebook said Monday that it has created a Facebook Messenger for Android beta program, meaning the social network will give anyone who wants to help bug-test its messaging app early access to a prerelease version of Messenger.

The company has promised its Messenger testers multiple updates per week and access to experimental features. Facebook even hinted that its Messenger for Android guinea pigs might get to test new types of sharing, though the company left out specifics.

The Messenger beta program is similar to the company's Facebook for Android beta testing initiative, which the social network kicked off this past June. The program has 1 million active participants, Facebook said.

"As with the main Facebook application, our goals with this program are to expand our pool of testers and gain feedback across a more diverse set of devices," Luiz Scheidegger, an engineer on the mobile infrastructure team, wrote in a blog post.

Social networkers can opt in to the new program by joining the Google group, selecting to "Become a Tester" in the Google Play Store, and turning on automatic updates for the app.