Facebook to Turn Messenger Into a Platform for Apps
Facebook today announced Messenger Platform, an expansion of its messaging application that will let developers tap into key features. Facebook envisions Messenger Platform as new place for people to express themselves and share content. Allowing developers to hook into Messenger means users will eventually be able to do much more with their conversations, such as create animated GIFs. People will soon be able to browse for Messenger apps directly from Messenger. Facebook said 40 apps will be available at launch. Facebook also announced Messenger for Business. The idea here is to allow people to communicate with businesses via Messenger rather than via phone or other means. Facebook views it as a more convenient approach to communications between customers and companies. In an example provided on stage during its F8 developer conference, Facebook demonstrated how Messenger — rather than email — can be used by businesses to provide purchasing and shipping details when shopping online. Facebook said apps for Messenger and Messenger for Business will go live in a few weeks.
Facebook Messenger Brings SMS Back to Android App
Facebook today said Facebook Messenger users will once again be able to send SMS messages — as long as they're running Android. Essentially, Android users can set Messenger as the default SMS app, which will route all SMS messages and conversations through Messenger rather than any other SMS apps that may be installed on the device.
Facebook Aims to Simplify Connecting with Others Via Messenger
Facebook is adding several tools to its Messenger service with the the goal of making it easier to begin conversations with others. To start, the company is rolling out Messenger Codes, which allows people to scan one another's code and begin chatting.
Dropbox Makes It Easy to Share Files Via Facebook Messenger
Dropbox has integrated its own service into Facebook's Messenger app, allowing people to share files from Dropbox to friends and family through Messenger. The integration requires senders to have both the Dropbox and Messenger apps installed on their phone.
Facebook Adds Ride Hailing to Messenger
Facebook updated its Messenger app today with the ability to hail rides from select car service providers. The first partner is Uber, but Facebook plans to add others, such as Lyft, soon.
Facebook Seeks to Improve Bots for People, Brands, and Developers
Facebook today announced major changes to its Messenger platform that should make bots easier to find and use. To start, Messenger now includes a Discover tab where people can recall recently used bots, as well as use a free-form search field to seek out new bots.