At Facebook’s F8, Messenger Platform excites developers who see the boost it …

26 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

At Facebook’s F8, Messenger Platform excites developers who see the boost it may give their apps.

Gaming execs: Join 180 select leaders from King, Glu, Rovio, Unity, Facebook, and more to plan your path to global domination in 2015. Facebook said Wednesday that it will expand the services on its Messenger app, allowing users to do things like track packages from stores and place richer images in their conversations.Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Messenger Platform, describing it as a way for software developers to boost appeal to the more than 600 million people using the application. “We think this service has the potential to allow people to express themselves in new ways … and to be an important communication tool for the world,” Zuckerberg said as he kicked off the California-based company’s annual developers conference in San Francisco. Now, users can install a series of apps, including ESPN and the Weather Channel, that will let them send photos about the day’s weather or a video from the previous night’s baseball game through Messenger. “Facebook used to be this single blue app, and it did a lot of different things.

Facebook executives introduced more than 25 products and tools tailored to help developers “build, grow, and monetise” mobile applications aimed at the social network’s audience of approximately 1.39 billion people. Now, instead of plain text, simple images and links, users will be able to easily install and share content from a variety of rich-media services that feature content such as GIFs, videos and sound. “For developers, the platform provides a way to reach the [interconnected users] inside of messaging,” Bitstrips founder and CEO Jacob Blackstock said.

By the end of April, Messenger will also be adding the ability to display store receipts and shipping information to help consumers keep track of their interactions with merchants and other businesses. SAN FRANCISCO — With its announcement today of the Messenger Platform, Facebook argued it could be a very big deal for developers, and judging by the reaction of some of the very people who will be making apps and experiences that integrate with platform, they seem to think so too.

The changes underscore Facebook’s vision for Messenger as a new communication tool that complements the social network and ramps up efforts to compete with rivals like Snapchat, which is adding media partners to its messaging app. His company will launch its Bitmoji personalized cartoon app with Messenger. “There’s huge opportunity for innovation and access to millions of potential new users around the world.” Keek, a Toronto social-media service with 74 million users built around sharing 36-second videos, could use the boost of getting first crack at Messenger’s 600 million users. One of the new features will let customers buy items on clothing sites like Everlane and Zulily, and engage in a conversation with them later on Messenger. It also builds on Facebook’s launch last week of payments on Messenger, and shows that the company is dead serious about making Messenger a one-stop shop for a broad set of functions, and provides more rationale for why it spun out the messaging tool as a stand-alone app, much to the chagrin at the time of millions of people. “People wondered why Facebook split Messenger out from the standalone Facebook app,” said Patrick Salyer, CEO of Gigya, the development of an identity management platform, in a statement. “And now we know. The push to plant more features in Messenger underscores the growing importance of apps that enable more intimate and direct conversations than social networks.

Even most Canadian funds have turned their backs on the Venture and Keek’s valuation has suffered as a result of the malaise in Canadian small caps, Mr. Younger people, in particular, are increasingly using a wide range of mobile messaging apps to communicate with different circles of friends, while spending less time broadcasting their activities on Facebook’s more expansive social network.

Some analysts were skeptical about whether other retailers would be willing to switch to Facebook’s platform because they already work with other businesses for those services. “They are going to need to decide if it makes sense to give up those relationships and transition to a platform like Messenger, or if it’s going to be too much effort,” said Debra Aho Williamson, a principal analyst with research firm eMarketer. Prior to Wednesday’s announcement, Keek had a market capitalization of about $8.1-million (U.S.) – a paltry sum compared with the kind of money attracted by comparable U.S. companies. On Wednesday, Facebook said it will integrate 40 apps on Messenger, allowing people to download apps like Giphy, a library of moving GIFs, and place them in a Messenger conversation. Founded in 2011 by serial entrepreneur Isaac Raichyk, who left the company in 2013 after the startup hit a serious cash crunch, Keek was rescued through a reverse takeover by Canadian junior oil and gas firm Primary Petroleum in 2014. Facebook’s revenue last year surged 58 percent to $12.5 billion, a performance that has enabled the company’s stock price to more than double from its initial public offering price of $38 in 2012.

According to Norm Liang of Sungy Mobile, a Chinese utility app maker, WeChat, Line, and Kakao have helped apps spread virally in Asia. “I could see how this is good for helping apps spread,” Liang said after Facebook’s keynote this morning. But as much as Keek and others stand to benefit from partnering with Facebook, the social-media giant needs a richer app marketplace to compete in messaging markets dominated by China’s WeChat or Japan’s Line. But while there was plenty of enthusiasm for the announcements at F8 today, not everyone on hand believes Facebook is taking developers in the right direction. “Facebook is a platform for sharing,” said Nicole Lazzaro, the founder and president of XEODesign, a game and user experience design company. That threat is propelling Messenger’s expansion and also prompted Zuckerberg to spend $22 billion last year to buy WhatsApp, another mobile messaging service that has more than 700 million users. And that’s not enough “to get people connected.” Lazzaro said she doesn’t think Facebook offers enough “verbs” for interactivity, and thinks people want technology to provide more realistic connections. “Facebook really needs to be positioned as a connection platform,” not a sharing platform, she said. “You want to inspire developers.

A large segment of WhatsApp’s audience is located in less affluent countries outside the U.S. and western Europe, making it more likely that it won’t be adding as many new tools as Messenger has, said David Marcus, who oversees Facebook’s messaging products. Most Messenger apps are installed on iPhones and top-of-the-line Android phones, which provide the processing power needed to handle a range of multipurpose tools.

Analysts widely expect Facebook to begin showing ads with Messenger as people spend more time in the app to do different things, though the Menlo Park, California, company hasn’t revealed plans to turn the app into a marketing vehicle. Facebook introduced a software developer kit (SDK) to support the growing influx of web-connected devices for the home, like smart garage door openers and refrigerators. The decision to allow outside applications to operate within Messenger mirrors a pivotal decision that Zuckerberg made eight years ago when he opened Facebook to other programmers. Marcus, who formerly ran PayPal, is hoping Messenger will follow a similar pattern now that it is operating as an open platform. “We have opened the floodgates,” he said. Facebook is counting on apps from other developers to enable Messenger users to express their feelings with GIFs, audio clips and other dynamic formats that “will bring a smile to people’s faces,” Marcus said.

They collect data about your usage patterns and habits, and typically connect to an app that offers feedback to improve your lifestyle (or your racquet swing, for example). In his presentation, Zuckerberg predicted messaging apps eventually will include virtual-reality technology, something that Facebook acquired last year when it bought Oculus for $2 billion.

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