Facebook has changed the world. It’s changed the way we use the internet, it’s changed the way we interact with one another. Some even believe that it’s changed the way our brains work.
The social media giant’s Messenger service is its next big idea, and it wants to revolutionize the way we use our phones. Calling it the ’next’ big thing may seem like a stupid way to describe something with 800 million users, but this is apparently still early days for Messenger, and the company believes it has plenty of scope left for growth. As David Marcus, VP of Messaging Products, wrote: ‘We believe we have so much more opportunity ahead of us, and these are still the early days of Messenger.’
According to Nielsen, Messenger was the fastest growing app of 2015, adding 200 million users between March and the end of the year. It has already introduced video calling, increased its operational speed, introduced a virtual assistant, brought in a function for sending and receiving payments, and partnered with Uber to build a transportation app platform. This year, it has even bigger plans, as it targets the 1 billion users it wants before it starts to monetize the app.
Its ultimate goal is to destroy all other apps, and become the access point through which users can conduct almost all businesses and services. Its strategy to increase user engagement is to provide features that prompt users to stay on its platform for all their requirements.
We’ve looked at 3 ways that Messenger will transform the way we use our phone.
Remove The Need For Phone Numbers
Messenger now allows its users to send message requests to anyone on Facebook, fundamentally rendering the need for a phone number redundant. According to Stan Chudnovsky, Messenger’s head of product, ‘We have the directory of everyone that is out there, we can allow you to find anyone you want and all you need is a name.’
Replace Apps With Threads
Facebook wants to harness the attention that ‘chat’ gets on mobiles to build a portal that incorporates commerce, content, and more. Businesses will be able to use Messenger to operate on mobiles without having to maintain an app, by combining Facebook Pages with the ability to conduct customer service over Messenger. In early testing last year, it was shown that interactions between brands and businesses will start happening more frequently in Messenger threads, and this year Marcus says they will ‘do more to enable additional businesses and services to build the right experience in conversations’.
Introduce A Personal Assistant
One way Messenger is looking to differentiate itself from other chat services is with its personal assistant M. While M is still in the early stages, it will bring a whole new range of conveniences, from ordering food at restaurants to booking a haircut. It will also teach Facebook about what people want from Messenger beyond messaging, and help it understand natural language so that it may eventually be able to incorporate a chat bot that automatically responds to text messages, and aligns to their payments system.