Facebook plans to open third party development for its widely used Messenger App, with the announcement stated to come at next week’s F8 conference, with over 20 such modifications expected to be revealed at the event.
This comes as a bid to improve functionality and incorporate varying tasks into the chat’s architecture, with Facebook going down the road that Asian chat apps Line and WeChat already took. The extent to which these modifications might alter the way the Messenger works will be limited at the beginning, with the company closely monitoring initial experiments. Based on their success, Facebook will decide
It is unclear what exactly these modifications will consist of, with none of the involved third parties being leaked as of yet, but a look at Line and WeChat might provide some sense of direction. The two third party-enabled apps can be used for a multitude of task besides base chatting, such as booking hotel rooms, paying phone bills, buying movie tickets and even shop on some online retailers.
The Facebook Messenger was launched in 2011 and underwent a couple of design and architecture changes throughout the years, some of which weren’t too popular with users. Data from statista.com suggests that Facebook Messenger was the third most used messenger app worldwide, with 500 million users as of December 2014, trailing only behind WhatsApp (already acquired by Facebook last year) and QQMobile. Despite this, user ratings on the Apple App Store for example hold it only at a three out of five star rating.
The F8 Developer’s Conference will be held Wednesday and Thursday next week at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. The company is also poised to make some important announcements regarding the future of Oculus VR and its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, which the social media giant surprisingly bought last year for over $2 billion, but has generally kept quiet on future intentions. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey declined to comment on the headset’s future at the recent SXSW 2015, where the company had a panel.
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