Facebook Messenger, the standalone messaging client from Facebook‘s expanding suite of mobile apps, has just been updated with several new features.

The app’s latest update arrives concurrent with today’s updates for two other Facebook-owned apps, namely, Facebook Pages Manager and Instagram.

Pushing Facebook Messenger to version 1.8, the update introduces in-app notifications, among other enhancements.

Separate from the already existing push notifications built into Notification Center, an in-app notification appears at the top of a conversation to alert you of a new message in another conversation. Tapping it lets you quickly switch to that other conversation, thereby doing away with the additional taps and swipes needed to get to it otherwise.

Speaking of swipes, the update adds the ability to delete individual messages in a conversation by swiping over them.

The newest version of Facebook Messenger also lets you include your friends’ friends in conversations. As well, it improves photo sharing with its support for tapping photos for full-screen enlargement and pinching them for zooming.

The update’s changelog also mentions the ability to “see who’s available when you start a new conversation.” But as far as I can remember, an online buddy list has long been a part of the app.

The other improvements delivered by the update are:

  • Faster app loading, navigating and sending
  • More-reliable push notifications
  • Bug fixes

Facebook Messenger is available in the App Store for free.

Given today’s significant new update, which comes nearly two months after the previous one, Facebook Messenger is slowly but surely becoming a full-fledged messaging client.