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Facebook announces new Messenger Platform focused on content and businesses

By Katrina Canlas & Koh Wanzi - on 30 Mar 2015, 1:07pm

Facebook announces new Messenger Platform focused on content and businesses

 Facebook Messenger head David Marcus talks about the new Messenger Platform. (Image Source: Facebook)

Facebook has unveiled major changes that will be coming to Messenger at its annual F8 developer conference in San Francisco. The new Messenger Platform will offer new ways for Messenger’s 600 million monthly users to express themselves with links to a rich selection of third-party content and apps.

The company is opening up its new Messenger Platform up to developers to enable them to create apps that integrate with Messenger and provide new content for users. For instance, developers could integrate links to Messenger within their own apps for easier content-sharing between users.

Many apps creators are already on board the new platform, and users can look forward to sprucing up their everyday conversations with GIFs, photos, videos, audio clips and more from over 40 new apps. For instance, Giphy allows users to search from a database of GIFs and insert them directly into a Messenger conversation. Other content app partners include Bitmoji, Imgur and Magisto. For those of us who have continually bemoaned the inadequacy of words, apps like these will appear to be a godsend.

Image Source: Facebook

Furthermore, the new integration with third-party content could provide a new way for users to discover new apps and help developers spread word of their apps. Messenger’s composer will now show people a list of apps to add all sorts of bells and whistles to their conversations with friends. And even if you don’t have the app that your friend used to send you that less-than-flattering illustration of yourself, hitting the reply button will take you to the relevant app to respond in kind.

Having acquired WhatsApp – the world’s most popular messaging service – in 2014, Facebook’s move to build up its Messenger Platform into a vibrant, communications hub could help differentiate it from WhatsApp, which offers a simple, no-frills approach to text messaging. The third-party apps are already available for Messenger users to discover and explore, and can also be found on either Apple's App Store or Google Play.

Businesses also have a place in Facebook’s plans for its Messenger Platform, and the social media giant aims to use Messenger to change the way customers communicate with businesses. If you wanted to contact a business today, you’d probably place a call to their customer service hotline or create a support ticket online.

However, Facebook is positioning its new Messenger as an intuitive way to contact businesses and even place orders with them, just as you would chat with a friend online.
This has the potential to streamline consumers’ interaction with businesses by proving a single channel for customers’ needs. In addition, businesses will gain a new avenue with which to engage their customers and provide more unique, personalized support, such as through updates or individual notifications.

Image Source: Facebook

Business on Messenger will initially launch with a couple of partners. For more details, please visit their website.

Source: Facebook, Mashable, TechCrunch