Social networking behemoth Facebook’s Messenger App has crossed the 500 million user mark and has officially entered the league of WhatsApp, Line & WeChat.
Released in 2011, Messenger allows users to send private messages to their friends. In August 2014, it became compulsory for Facebook mobile users wishing to send private messages, to download the app.
Experts believe that Messenger’s 500 million monthly users are less impressive when compared to Facebook’s monthly active mobile users, a massive 1.12 billion in September 2014 according to Facebook’s own figures.
In a recent investor call, Facebook Founder & CEO Zuckerberg pointed out, “One big priority for us here is messaging, and continuing to build and grow Messenger and now WhatsApp as well, as great services… SMS and WhatsApp are more for real-time activity. People have contacts on WhatsApp who they wouldn’t want to make friends on Facebook. The graphs are somewhat different.”
In an exclusive interview to Wired Magazine’s Jessi Hempel, Former PayPal CEO David Marcus, who is now the Vice President of Messaging Products at Facebook, said that the next plan of action for Facebook Messenger was to hit the 1 billion users mark.
He also discussed how the plan is to make ‘Messenger into something far more than a messenger,’ with Voice-over-IP calls, online payments, etc. Recently, a series of leaks had showcased how users will soon be able to accept help in the form of cash from a friend or a relative with Facebook Messenger.
The screenshots, which were leaked by Stanford computer science student Andrew Aude, discovered that the system is already in place on the company’s iOS app. According to the screenshots posted by Aude, the app will require you to register a debit or credit card with Facebook before transferring money to your contacts.
Marcus and his team are exploring various new features with the product. One such that he showed to Hempel during the interview was the ability to know when a Message has been received, and read. WhatsApp recently introduce two blue ticks to confirm that a Message had been read. Another idea that could soon happen was getting direct messages to users from businesses.
Although the compulsory need to download the Facebook Messenger app has angered some users, but Facebook has introduced features like sharing photos, stickers, video, audio, etc to make the app much more competitive.
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