Facebook Messenger reached 800 million active users each month earlier this month, making it the fastest-growing app worldwide, and the second fastest on iOS behind Facebook. It added over 250 million new users in 2015 and is expecting similar growth in 2016, as more of the 1.4 billion people using Facebook start using Messenger.
In a blog post, head of Messenger David Marcus wrote about the new features added to the messaging service in 2015, alongside changes in the messaging world and new features coming to Messenger next year.
Here is the list of new features added this year:
- Faster messaging
- Video calling
- Conversation customization
- Businesses on Messenger
- Send money
- Messenger Platform
- Message Requests
- Photo Magic
- Virtual assistant, M
- Uber for Messenger
That is quite a list, especially compared to some of the other major messaging services like WhatsApp, WeChat, and Line. Facebook appears to be treating Messenger as the platform for people that want all different types of media, while WhatsApp is going down the encrypted and simplistic route.
In 2016, Marcus expects a few changes to happen. First, the end of the phone number. Marcus claims that phone numbers should be part of the flip phone age, and smartphones don’t need them. He says that Messenger is bringing that closer to reality, by keeping conversations going regardless of the device.
Marcus expects threads to become the new apps, which means businesses and services will utilize the Messenger platform, rather than build their own experiences. This way, users aren’t forced to download an app for one purpose anymore, since they can use Messenger for all of their social needs.
Next year, the Messenger team is focused on building your own “social zone,” where you will connect with everyone from co-workers to businesses to friends. They also plan to integrate the virtual assistant, M, into the messaging experience more often by adding more uses for the AI bot.