To celebrate reaching its latest milestone, Facebook Messenger has announced that it is launching a set of new features to make it easier to add new friends and start conversations with the app.
It has been revealed that the Messenger app now has a user base of 900 million and, to mark the occasion, Facebook has announced new features that will reignite its rivalries with other messaging apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat.
The company announced that its users will be able to use scannable codes, as well as having their own unique username. They will also be able to share links with other users to start conversations within the app more easily.
These changes were announced by Facebook, which said it was delivering new solutions to over 900 million users. It also explained that mobile phone numbers were not necessary to connect with other users, nor do they have to be friends on its social network, which has around 1.5 billion users.
The company also hinted that it could make the platform more attractive to business by highlighting that traditional phone books are becoming obsolete, so the company wanted to make it easier for people and businesses to connect.
Messenger’s scannable codes, which are to be known as Messenger Codes, are Facebook’s version of the feature that photo-messaging service Snapchat uses, with them being known as Snapcodes. These work by having a code scanned by smartphone and tablet cameras. The codes connect users and enable them to start a message thread. Facebook informs users that they can find their own unique code in the ‘Settings’ tab.
To entice businesses onto the app, Messenger has introduced a links feature that will allow a user to create and send a short and possibly memorable link to another user that, once clicked, will allow a business to start a conversation within the service.
Users of this function will also be able to place their URL usernames in email signatures for colleagues and clients to get in touch with a user or business on the platform without the need to distribute a phone number. These usernames will begin with the ‘@’ symbol and can be edited to a name of choice. The username will also be visible on the user’s Messenger profile.
In the near future, the company will be releasing a set of Messenger Greetings, which will be customisable notes for businesses to use within a message thread. These greetings will allow a business to tell their customers the types of messages they can leave, in a similar fashion to welcome notes.
It was recently discovered on the main Facebook social network that ‘secret conversations’ could be had with users you are not directly connected with. It is rumoured that this feature could spill over into the Messenger app in the near future, as well as another function that will allow users to pay for goods and services, turning the social network into an online retail hub – a feature that could be very attractive to businesses considering using the app.