Users will still be able to connect with existing friends by letting the app sift through their contacts, matching them up with identical phone numbers already associated with Facebook profiles.

Thus it can place an accountless Messenger user on Facebook's Social Graph, deduces TechCrunch, while at the same time allowing them to search among Facebook profiles for people they might know.

Facebook had earlier announced that the Android version of its Messenger app has been downloaded more than a billion times from the Google Play store.

A chat forum on Messenger's page at Google Play was rich with accolades but peppered with comment that the high download count was driven by Facebook spinning the widely used service out of the social network, compelling people to get the app.

Facebook last year broke off Messenger from the main Facebook application for mobile users, creating a separate platform that claims more than 600 million users. Facebook in April began rolling out video calling on its Messenger mobile application, enabling face-to-face conversations among users of the app around the world.