Facebook Turns Messenger Into a Platform, Allows Third-Party iOS App Integration

26 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Everything You Need To Know From Today’s Facebook F8 Announcements.

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook Inc opened up its Messenger service for developers to create apps and for shoppers to communicate directly with retailers, as the Internet company seeks to expand its reach. 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.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook’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.USA TODAY editor Patty Michalski tries out an Oculus virtual reality device at the SXSW Interactive festival in Austin, which took place March 13-17.(Photo: Mary Nahorniak, USATODAY) SAN FRANCISCO — One of the stars of Facebook’s two-day F8 developers’ conference — besides Mark Zuckerberg — is Oculus Rift, the futuristic virtual-reality goggle that the social networking giant bought for $2 billion. The new features mark Facebook’s latest effort to transform its mobile messaging service into a full-featured platform with the same pull with consumers and businesses as its flagship 1.4-billion user social network.

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. That means developers will be able to add in new functionality to Messenger — things like Giphy for on-the-fly GIF searching, goofy voice changers for voice messages, a drawing pad for doodling things up for your friends, etc. 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. Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners, a New York brokerage, said the market’s fall was driven by big investors selling some of their winnings before the first quarter closes next week.

Messenger will feature more than 40 different apps in the next few days, allowing users to send each other sports clips, animations and other items, Facebook said. 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.

The push to diversify Messenger addresses a potential threat to Facebook’s ubiquitous social network posed by a variety of mobile messaging maps offering more intimate and direct ways to connect with friends. Right now, those new features are mainly limited to more advanced messages, like text messages that turn into songs or one that lets you animate selfie photos. Among the first apps will be those from ESPN and The Weather Channel. “This is just the first step towards creating better sharing experiences across this whole family of apps,” Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said on stage at the conference. Facebook has amassed a collection of mobile apps in recent years, including photo-sharing app Instagram and messaging service WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired for US$19bil (RM69.59bil) in 2014. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 292.60 points, or 1.6 percent, to 17,718.54, while the Nasdaq composite fell 118.21 points, or 2.4 percent, to 4876.52, its biggest decline in nearly a year.

The model, in many ways, comes from the messaging giants popular in China and Japan: Tencent’s WeChat (known as Weixin in China), and Line, which became a powerful alternative to text messaging after the devastating Tohoku earthquake of 2011. “Facebook or these messenger apps, they’re wondering, what’s their future?” said Brian Blau, a research director at the technology research firm Gartner. “How are they going to engage? During his keynote address Wednesday, Zuckerberg showed a slide that clearly indicates that he feels virtual reality ultimately is a preferable way to share experiences when compared with voice, text or photos. Before the market opened, the Commerce Department reported that orders to U.S. factories for durable goods fell in February for the third time in four months.

Facebook partnered with online retailers Zulily and Everlane to let consumers contact them directly on Messenger to change online orders, such as the colour of a shirt, for example, and be notified when a purchase has shipped. Wouldn’t it be better if they were more of a platform, and could have users in all sorts of areas and have businesses come to rely on them?” For users, beefier and more powerful messaging apps could be a logical extension of the activities they’re already doing — or they could quickly overwhelm. Given Facebook’s social emphasis, one can see the tech being applied to interpersonal communication in a way that could make Apple’s FaceTime conversations seem as quaint as letter writing. We’ll probably get to know more about Oculus Rift Wednesday, when Day 2 of F8 spotlights a keynote talk by Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash titled, “Why Virtual Reality Will Matter to You.” Tuesday’s press demos consisted of two parts.

WeChat, which has some 500 million users worldwide, lets users make voice and video calls, communicate with groups of up to 500 people and send and receive money. The first was a six-minute Crescent Bay experience, and the second was spending as much time as you liked with an Oculus-powered goggle made by Samsung paired to its Galaxy phone. But the app also includes a complete payments platform, like Apple Pay or the coming Samsung Pay, that lets people check out in stores and restaurants using the app, and also shop online. 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. Now you can use WeChat to check into hotel rooms and use the app as a digital key, schedule doctor’s appointments and track prescriptions, buy train tickets, pay school tuition fees and order items for delivery. (The app Call a Chicken lets people order chicken dishes for delivery.) Similarly, Line handles messaging and voice, video games, mobile payments, TV shows and movie studios, ultrapopular stickers (that its users can create and sell on the platform), a taxi-calling service that rivals Uber and even a physical store in Tokyo.

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. Facebook’s social network is more than twice as large with about 1.4 billion users. ● Wells Fargo will close its home lending servicing office in Milwaukee and eliminate 1,000 jobs, saying fewer homeowners are falling behind on payments and seeking help keeping their homes. You can make voice calls with the app over both Wi-Fi or a cellular data connection — although there’s no video calling and its sticker collection left a lot to be desired—at least for now. 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.

FLAT!” “Okay, dad, that’s cool, can I have my Rift implant chip back please?” We’re rushing headfirst into this era of “Internet of Things” — a time of connected coffee makers, connected fridges, connected lightswitches. 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. 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. The San Francisco bank has about 265,000 employees in total. ● A unit of Schlumberger, the world’s largest oil-field services company, agreed to plead guilty and pay more than $232 million to settle charges that it traded with Iran and Sudan in violation of U.S. sanctions laws, the Justice Department 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. It has also partnered with media companies for its Snapchat Discover feature, which delivers short videos and even long text stories from companies like CNN, National Geographic and Vice. The app is slowly rolling out voice calling features to Android users, but does little else besides chat, video and photo sharing, and audio messages.

After all, when Facebook split off Messenger from the core Facebook mobile app, it said it did so to make both apps work well with fewer distractions. The agency said PayPal didn’t adequately screen transactions so it could detect those by people or entities subject to sanctions against Iran, Cuba and Sudan. Facebook Messenger doesn’t make any money for the company, despite the engineering and marketing effort involved in spinning it off into its own app. Soon enough, it changed: Two robots fought over a rubber ducky, battling it out light-saber-style as sparks seemed to shower down all around me; a T-Rex charged at me from down a long, empty corridor; a big-eyed alien waved at me from his stellar landscape; and a futuristic war played out all around me, bullets cutting through the air in slow motion a la The Matrix. As messaging apps evolve, it’s likely we’ll see Facebook and Snapchat experiment with ways to keep their users interested and also reap bigger profits. “To a large degree, some of these features are experimental,” said Mr.

They’ll see which ones will stick and oftentimes we’ll see features go away.” So you might discover that you love being able to buy games, pay for groceries and call a taxi all while chatting with your friends — but prepare for some chaos while these apps figure out just what they want to be when they grow up. Whitby, Getty Images, for Westfield) For the next half hour, I sat in a comfortable chair with the Samsung Gear VR headset on, experiencing a lower-tech and lower-res version of what Crescent Bay had sprung on me. He was stoic throughout, cracking up only when Seinfeld joked about how he and Larry David, sitting next to Sandler, had perhaps the last culturally dominant show on TV, noting, “It’s like we got the last two tickets to Disneyland before it burned down.”

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