Facebook Finds Strength As A Family, Not An App

26 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Finds Strength As A Family, Not An App.

Gaming execs: Join 180 select leaders from King, Glu, Rovio, Unity, Facebook, and more to plan your path to global domination in 2015. SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook continues to perfect its walled-garden experience and is now offering developers the chance to build apps that link directly with its Messenger chat option, along with a version aimed at business users.Facebook Inc’s Messenger app is evolving into a multitasking tool equipped to send an animated fist bump to a friend at one moment and then get a little business done in the next.By the end of April, Facebook Messenger will also be adding the ability to display store receipts and shipping information to help consumers keep track.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg gestures while delivering the keynote address at the Facebook F8 Developer Conference Wednesday, March 25, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) (The Associated Press) CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks about the Messenger app during the Facebook F8 Developer Conference Wednesday, March 25, 2015, in San Francisco.Facebook has turned its chat app, Messenger, into a platform that can integrate third-party apps, letting people send rich multimedia messages, such as GIFs, stickers, and videos. People will also have the option to ask a business questions, make requests and get quick responses.” This back and forth will all be presented in the common Messenger way, which is as a single ongoing tedious stream of blah communications thread between parties. µ

Of Facebook’s products. “Facebook used to be this one blue app on your phone, and now Facebook is a family of apps” said its CEO as he showed off the user counts of the different family members. The push to diversify Messenger came as younger people are increasingly using a wide range of mobile messaging apps to communicate, while spending less time broadcasting their activities on Facebook’s more expansive social network. They’ll even be able to place orders (“I really like this shirt, can I get one in another color?”) over the app and confirm their purchases by hitting the big blue thumbs-up button. “This turns support into a revenue-generating center rather than what many people perceive as a cost center,” Zendesk’s director of product, Jason Smale, tells Quartz. Zendesk, which is powering the first two business integrations for the online retailers Everlane and Zulily, shared the following screenshot, showing the other side of the interaction.

The cognitive-enhancement platform is accessible on mobile platforms, letting the company tap into the $25 billion mobile game market while also touching on health care and education. Facebook’s revenue last year surged 58 percent to US$12.5 billion, a performance that has enabled the company’s stock price to more than double from its initial public offering price of US$38 in 2012.

That threat is propelling Messenger’s expansion and also prompted Zuckerberg to spend US$22 billion last year to buy WhatsApp, another mobile messaging service that has more than 700 million users. But Memorado says it offers brain-training deeply rooted in science for mobile devices, and it has global traction in China, Russia, Germany, and the U.S.

A large segment of WhatsApp’s audience is located in less affluent countries outside the US and western Europe, making it more likely that it will not be adding as many new tools as Messenger has, said David Marcus, who oversees Facebook’s messaging products. Overall, people who contact support teams using live chat tend to be happier with their interactions over those who do so over email, says Smale. “We take that to the next level with Messenger,” he says, noting that the company is also exploring integrations with other mobile applications.

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. Providing a solution to appeal to people worldwide is its primary goal, calling its solution “casual games with a serious purpose.” “What is commonly understood as cognitive enhancement is traditional education.

But when you’re talking about trying to connect every human on earth, a singularly focused app alone can’t possibly meet the diverse needs of a diverse population. Analysts widely expect Facebook to begin showing ads with Messenger as people spend more time in the app to do different things, though the company has not revealed plans to turn the app into a marketing vehicle. However, today’s solutions can take a variety of shapes — be it nootropics, EEG-led headbands, or mobile brain training,” said Memorado founder Marius Luther in a statement. “With the Series A funding we now have the opportunity to build the leading cognitive enhancement product suite.”

Zuckerberg explained “We’re building this family so we can offer unique, world-class experiences for every way that people want to share.” Facebook was built as a website, not an app. 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. 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. In his presentation, Zuckerberg predicted messaging apps eventually will include virtual-reality technology, something that Facebook acquired last year when it bought Oculus VR Inc for US$2 billion. If people didn’t want to read links or deal with the personal drama of status updates on Facebook, they could just let the pretty pictures flow over their eyes.

As mobile became the dominant way people connected, Facebook saw that its messaging system’s growth was hampered by keeping it buried inside the main app. 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. If competitors controlled the top photo sharing or messaging app, they could use those as a wedge to pry themselves into Facebook’s core social networking ad business. It knew people wanted a wider variety of things to do on Facebook, from using utilities to playing games, but it didn’t have the time, resources, or know how to create them all in-house. It’s extending what counts as family by inviting over 40 developers to build companion apps for creating and discovering content to be shared through Messenger.

And if these apps don’t see business advantages from being a Messenger companion, like getting downloads of their main apps, they might not bother to build or maintain another set of code. When I asked how Messenger will make developers feel valued during Messenger head David Marcus’ F8 panel Q&A, he insisted “The beauty of the platform is that developers get attribution. If the audience gets burned by spam, outdated functionality, or annoying marketing posts, there won’t be anyone left to use Facebook’s partner apps in the future.

But it’s entering a new life phase with new responsibilities, and it will have to balance its affection for users, advertisers, developers, and its own bottom line.

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