Facebook’s messaging app Messenger just reached a landmark: one billion people use it every month, says the Silicon Valley company. Facebook’s other messaging app — WhatsApp, which it acquired for $19 billion two years ago — is the most used messaging app in the world, passing the one-billion user mark in February, likely growing further since. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg says each messaging app is distinct. The company goal is to make messaging, not apps, its primary computing interface.
According to Wired, “Facebook’s goal has been that messaging take the place of apps as [its] primary computing interface.” Zuckerberg describes WhatsApp as “utilitarian” and Messenger “more as a tool for expression,” and has plans to expand both into services such as the bots already available in Messenger. Users will be able to “communicate with customer service or summon a ride,” in what Wired calls an emulation of China’s WeChat.
TechCrunch describes Messenger reaching one billion monthly users as “a huge blinking marquee telling us what we should already know: messaging is the platform of the future.”
Noting that LINE has 218 million active users and Kik has 300 million registered users, TechCrunch says messaging apps have an enormous reach, driven by organic growth, “that’s going to have a huge impact on how we communicate with one another.”
Up until now, Google and Apple have dominated “real platform control in the mobile era.” But that’s shifting, with “automated conversational UI programs” defining communication, “media reconfiguring for brevity,” and video emphasizing captions “that make clips digestible even when a device is on mute.”
Communicating via messaging apps, says TechCrunch, goes beyond “a casual conversation between friends … but we’re still at the stage where [we’re] figuring out the best voice.” Voice-based communication works as well, if not better than a visual UI, a reason it “expect[s] messaging to truly take a primary place among platforms in the future.”