The big news from Facebook’s inaugural F8 developer conference is the announcement of Messenger as a stand alone platform. The Messenger Platform will develop it’s own app store for the 600 million users and allow for unique content to be shared between users vis IM. The forced shift of Facebook to the Messenger app is now apparent – why have one platform with a bucket load of users when you can have two!
“It’s a new platform that developers can use to build apps that help people connect.”
Messenger will start its new life simply by bringing more functionality to the sharing of videos, gifs and audio between users with 40 apps ready to go. Its role will expand quickly though. This month Facebook made it possible to send money between friends using Messenger. Only available in the US for now, users can add a payment card to Facebook and by simply typing $ and an amount they can transfer funds to friends.
As a platform Messenger’s full functionality looks set to be realised when Business on Messenger is launched. Websites will be able to integrate to provide a dedicated real time communication channel, particular handy for e-commerce websites to guide customers through a transaction for example. It will also be able to integrate with live chat providers that then funnel communication through Messenger instead.
Another new feature released at the conference includes the ability to embed Facebook videos. Facebook’s engagement algorithm rates native videos (i.e. the ones you upload yourself) very highly and the ability to embed them on your own site will mean there is no need to upload them twice and will (hopefully) drive engagement rankings even higher.
Facebook will now sync comments and conversations from posts on timelines with wherever they are also embedded over the web. This means that if a comment appears on Huffington Post it will be updated on the corresponding Facebook post in real time. This new feature should drive engagement as more people will be able to see comments that they would have missed if they only saw the post in one location.
One of the most exciting announcements was the introduction (without a release date) of 360 or ‘spherical videos’. This will give users a more immersive way to connect with each other and share experiences.
As time moves forward, communication on Facebook increasingly happens with richer media.
From the F8 it is clear that Facebook is opening up the platform for developers to drive users and engagement by allowing more functionality from directly within their app. The move is seeking to capitalise on the ‘Internet of Things’ so that Facebook becomes the one place to deliver all your connectivity needs for a host of everyday items – time will tell.
Watch the conference here.