Get a taste of Facebook Home…without Facebook Home

Captivated by Facebook Home but undecided whether you want Zuck & Co. to have total control of your beloved smartphone? Well, an update to Messenger for Android will let you sample “Chat Heads”; one of the more notable features of the recently unveiled Android skin.

Chat Heads, simply, allow you to access an SMS or Messenger conversation by tapping on animated circles of your friends’ profile pictures whom you’re conversing with.

Most Android devices won’t have access to Facebook Home, at least initially, so the recently released update to Messenger may be the only taste of ‘Home’ for many users.

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As in the screen grab above, you’ll need to make sure the Chat Heads feature is enabled in the app’s settings. After selecting ‘Notifications’, make sure the “Chat Heads” box is ticked, and that’s all the effort you need to put in.

Most notably, the Messenger app can be used to send and receive SMS messages, and as such, Chat Heads of all your contacts will pop up wherever you are on your phone. See pic below.

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To bring text messages into Chat Heads, enable Facebook Messenger as your default text messaging app — you can achieve this through navigating over to the app’s Settings pane again.

Contacts that aren’t on Facebook or already adorned with a lovely photo on your device should be given one, as the default blank Chat Head is woefully dull to behold. If the feature doesn’t begin to work instantly, some users are suggesting you may need to restart your Android device. On the Nexus 4 the above screenshots were taken on, a restart was required to get Chat Heads popping up as advertised.

Do you have an Android device? If so, does ‘Chat Heads’ appeal to you as a feature? Let me know in the comments below or over on Twitter; @GeekilyUK.

Ben Buffone

I'm a web designer, journalist and student in my last year of A-Levels. Joined Geekily in February 2013.

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