Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, announced plans to turn Facebook Messenger into a platform for apps created by other companies at the social network’s F8 conference. Zuckerberg called it an “exciting, big new area and opportunity for Facebook”.
Messenger has already proved controversial with some users of the social network, who have complained about having to switch between two apps to stay in touch with their Facebook friends. Many also question the price Facebook paid for WhatsApp while it also tries to develop this new Facebook Messenger platform.
Forty new applications will initially be available on Messenger Platform including Zya Ditty, which will sing personal messages to friends to the tune of popular songs. Sia’s “Chandelier” OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars” and The Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie” are among the first tunes licensed to the service.
Among the new apps unveiled are ways to post:
- Looped animated images known as Gifs sourced from the sports TV service ESPN and elsewhere
- Still images from the picture hosting site Imgur
- Computer-generated animal cartoon messages with recorded audio via Talking Tom
- Forecasts from the Weather Channel service
- E-cards from the humour site Jibjab
- Audio files from the Sound Clip.
Facebook also revealed plans to launch an associated service called Businesses on Messenger. Facebook suggested this could include receiving delivery status updates, organising the return of an order and asking follow-up questions.
Facebook has identified a huge opportunity in Africa, in terms of the size of the unserved market. It already has 100 million users, but sees that as only the tip of the iceberg. Internet penetration is growing, and Facebook is doing its best to speed up this progress with an eye on sizeable future customer acquisition.