Facebook reveals the logic behind its forced Messenger split

It made Messenger a separate app and then turned it into a platform all its own

Facebook's Messenger app across devices, as pictured on July 28, 2014.

Facebook's Messenger app across devices, as pictured on July 28, 2014.

Facebook annoyed and puzzled many people last year when it forced them to download its Messenger app for chats. Its reasons for doing so are now clearer: Messenger is becoming a beast of an app, with its own links to outside businesses and software apart from Facebook's main site.

At the company's F8 developer conference this week in San Francisco, executives pulled back the curtain on the new Messenger. It's now a storefront and a platform for other mobile apps, which can be downloaded from within Messenger and integrated into people's Messenger chats. There are more than 40 outside app partners already aiming to spice up users' conversations with things like personalized GIFs, tools to turn your texts into songs, and even sports animations from ESPN. The apps can be accessed by hitting the "..." button on the Messenger compose screen.

Users can still send each other plain old text-based messages. But why do that when the Messenger app Ditty can turn your text into a song? Or when you can superimpose fire onto your friend's house with Pyro?

These sorts of integrations, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at F8, are meant to give people more tools to express themselves and say what they want to say better.

Also, Facebook is now positioning Messenger as a business platform. Soon, when people buy things from select online retailers, they'll be able to sign up for updates like shipping notifications from within Messenger, or chat with the retailer there, or even change their order. Facebook thinks this is better than having to use regular email or phone calls to engage with the business. Facebook's initial retailer partners include Zulily and Everlane.

Plus, Messenger users now have the ability to send each other money. You can't buy things from businesses directly through Messenger yet, but it's not hard to imagine Facebook going down this route, especially as the company experiments with a "buy button" on Facebook's main site.

Meanwhile, Facebook Messenger handles quite a few voice calls. In fact, it accounts for more than 10 percent of mobile VoIP calls globally, Zuckerberg said.

Messenger now has roughly 600 million users who log in at least monthly, Zuckerberg said. That's almost half the size of Facebook's total user base.

Late last year, at a public Q&A, Zuckerberg said Facebook split Messenger off to make it a better, faster messaging product. Apparently, Facebook also thinks Messenger can do a lot of other things better.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags social mediamobileinternetFacebooke-commerceinstant messagingInternet-based applications and services

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?