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. The service will also begin relying more heavily on usernames, which can be addressed easily on Messenger.com, Facebook's dedicated web site for Messenger. Users need only type m.me/[username] to reach people online. In addition to helping individuals connect, the changes are also meant to help connected individuals to businesses. Facebook says its messaging service has 900 million active monthly users, who already send more than 1 billion messages to businesses. Facebook is rolling out these changes to users slowly over the next few weeks.
Facebook Adds Video Chat to Messenger Lite
Facebook today made its slimmed-down messaging app a bit more powerful with the addition of video chatting. Facebook calls video chats "an expected and essential part of everyday communication" and the company is pleased to offer the functionality to users of the Messenger Lite app.
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 Messenger Expands to Apple Watch
Apple Watch owners can now read their incoming Facebook Messenger messages on their wearable. A recent update to the iOS app adds compatibility with Apple's smartwatch.
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.