Messenger app giving Facebook’s own main app a run for its money

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If you needed more proof that Facebook’s Messenger app is ultra-popular, then here it is: It has now been downloaded more times than Facebook’s own main app, according to Quartz. This is remarkable when you consider that Messenger’s debut was first met with criticism for removing Facebook’s chatting capabilities and thus forcing people to get Messenger on mobile if they wanted to send messages to their friends.

Messenger has so far gotten 646.6 million downloads from 2012 through to the first half of 2015, according to figures provided by Sensory Tower, an app analytics company. And here’s the number of downloads Facebook’s main app has gotten in the same time period: 568 million.

Facebook publishes a whole bunch of other apps, but none of them even come close to Messenger’s popularity. All those other apps combined — everything from Facebook Poke to Rooms to Internet.org and all besides — only amounted to 637.5 million downloads in the same timespan. However, two other huge apps that Facebook publishes under their own respective brands — Instagram and WhatsApp — aren’t included in this data.

From the start, Facebook wanted to build up Messenger into a platform that was open to third-party developers. It has certainly made strides in this department, including in areas that permit the company to monetize the app. Messenger users, for example, can now send money to their friends, providing a growing and important revenue stream for Facebook.

And Facebook has more in store — on the horizon is a digital assistant for Messenger. And this and other third-party integrations would’ve been so much harder to produce if Messenger was still a part of the main Facebook app.

Knowing that Messenger is likely to become bigger than the main Facebook app, the company has just created a web version for browsers and relaxed registration so that even those without a dedicated Facebook account can now use Messenger.

Given the app’s popularity, it’s likely that Messenger can only get bigger and better from here on out.

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