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So Messenger can replace all the apps on your smartphone

Messenger an increasingly complete platform: you can find gifs, stickers, ecommerce and artificial intelligence, all without the need to download other apps

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Last March, during the Facebook developer conference, Messenger had just reached i 600 million users. Today, six months later, another 100 have been added, exceeding 700 million. On that occasion, David Marcus – formerly General Manager for the Palermo mobile – announced the transformation of the app into a platform, to integrate content from dozens of other apps and even e-commerce into chat.

(Photo: Maurizio Pesce / Wired)(Photo: Maurizio Pesce / Wired)

Since that day, Menlo Park have also added video calls, support for Apple Watch, the possibility of (asking to) chattar even with people who do not even know and even use Messenger even if you do not have a Facebook account. The result is that today 37% of Facebookusa Messenger subscribers every month, and the data is constantly growing.

(Source: GlobalWebIndex)(Source: GlobalWebIndex)

Parallel to Messenger, even WhatsApp has continued to grow: the other chat app from the Facebook stable now one step away from the billion active users. A duplicate? Not according to Marcus: we talked about it while he was in Dublin, during the Summit Summit."We need to have different platforms: WhatsApp chats are more personal, because they are based on the possession of a phone number: for those of Messenger, instead, it is enough to know an email address. WhatsApp was developed to work on any phone, in any condition, while the ideal environment for Messenger is the app for iOS and Android ".

David Marcus, Vice President of Messaging Products of Facebook (Photo: Maurizio Pesce / Wired)(Photo: Maurizio Pesce / Wired)

In short, different applications for a different audience. Messenger most used in North America and Western Europe; an exception is Italy, where we prefer WhatsApp, as in eastern countries. And then there is China, where they only use WeChat and where the fact that access to Facebook is blocked by the large firewall decided at Pechinon does not help. WeChat seems to be the model taken by Facebook to develop Messenger: in China it is used to send money to friends, book hotels and Uber cars, pay bills, buy movie tickets and buy products.

Likewise, Messenger is also focusing on business: the possibility of use chat for ecommerce and customer support was launched in the United States."But the first airline to use Messenger as a European sales and assistance platform", Marcus told me, confirming the expansion of the service in new countries starting in 2016. The company in question, if you ask yourself, should be KLM, already very active on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

According to Facebook and KLM chats are the future of customer support. E-mail, on the other hand, is not suitable, because it is dispersive: "We receive an email when we create an account on a new site, one to confirm each purchase, one shipment, one to track the package and one to confirm delivery", Marcus said. We've all been there: finding the right email to retrieve the necessary information always a disaster. "In chat, instead,all information will be in a single conversation": you can ask for a replacement, a refund or a new purchase simply by chatting with customer care via Messenger. And take a thumb up to confirm the order.

And then there is the virtual assistant from artificial intelligence, but with a human touch. "M answers questions under close supervision by the dedicated team. Today still like a small child who has to learn many things: for this reason he is supported by a team of people who intervene when needed ?. M still in beta, available only for a few thousand US users: "We don't expect it to be released to the public anytime soon", says Marcus.

For the development of Messenger, meanwhile, the importance of gifs, photos and videos is growing: "Smartphones have accustomed us to having an app for everything: there is an icon for the phone, one for messages, at least one for emails ", Marcus told me again. ?Smartphones have been developed to fit apps, not around people: our intention is to offer as much content as possible. Gifs, stickers and all kinds of rich media will be available directly in Messenger, without the need to download new apps ". Like WeChat. How it aims to make Facebook online: by offering you everything I was looking for, so that you don't need to use anything other than Facebook and Messenger.

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