With a claimed user base of over 1.3 billion, Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular messaging apps out there. Messenger on Tuesday announced new features and goals for 2018. One of the highlights of the announcement was a promise to invest in removing clutter from the app and offer more streamlined features. The app is also expected to introduce a new real time communication service and simplified group settings.
In a Facebook note, Facebook Messenger chief David Marcus admitted to having rolled out several features that made the app cluttered. The race to build new features might be slowed down, with the company investing in a simplified and streamlined app interface in 2018. As a possible part of this process, Facebook is shutting down the 'M' virtual assistant messenger bot later this week.
The Facebook-owned messaging app is also expected to roll out a new "real time communications" service on its platform soon. This could be something like what Facebook's native app offers with Facebook Live.
Messenger Groups are also getting an upgrade. A phone number will no longer be required to add a Facebook user to a group on the messaging app. Other features for Messenger Groups will be announced in the coming months. Apart from groups, Messenger is expected to work on features on the "visual messaging" front, including emojis, live video chat, and more.
Another area where Facebook Messenger has seen growth is company customer service. According to a 2016 Facebook survey, over 67 percent respondents expect to message businesses over the next two years. Even Facebook-owned WhatsApp recently launched its business-focused platform.
Talking about figures, 2017 was a year full of record statistics for Facebook Messenger. "We've also seen businesses and services becoming more active on the Messenger Platform - over 200,000 bots are now live, and businesses currently drive traffic at scale to their Messenger experiences thanks to click-to-Messenger ads and our recently introduced Messages Objective. We've also seen changes in how we communicate with friends and family - the rise of visual communication has been key with over 500 billion emojis and 18 billion GIFs sent... There were 17 billion video chats on Messenger for the year - two times as many as compared to 2016," said Marcus in the blog post.