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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesinstant messaginge-commercemobilesocial mediainternetFacebook

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?