Facebook’s Messenger to get a facelift in 2018


Messenger reached several milestones last year, including hitting the 1.3 billion active users mark. — dpa

Messenger reached several milestones last year, including hitting the 1.3 billion active users mark. — dpa

Steps to spruce up the popular messaging app is underway.

Fans of Facebook’s Messenger can expect a streamlined yet feature-packed app soon.

“Over the last two years, we built a lot of capabilities to find the features that continue to set us apart. A lot of them have found their product market fit, some haven’t. While we raced to build these new features, the app became too cluttered. Expect to see us invest in massively simplifying and streamlining Messenger this year,” Facebook’s vice-president of messaging products David Marcus said.

However, he didn’t elaborate on which functions would stay and which would leave.

In a blog post highlighting six trends to look out for in the app in 2018, Marcus predicted that visual messaging will fully explode in 2018, and people will expect a super fast and intuitive camera, video, images, GIFs, and stickers with almost every conversation.

“Not only will you see more from Messenger in visual messaging this year, but this is where the industry is heading, and we won’t be looking back,” he stated.

Those using the group chat are already enjoying features like reacting to an individual message, the option to mention someone, add and remove people seamlessly and other customisation tools, but Marcus said that there’s more to come. He hinted that they’re looking for ways to upgrade group chat into live video group chat.

Marcus said that they’re also hoping to introduce messaging as a “customer care” channel. According to a Facebook-commissioned study by Nielsen, 56% of people surveyed would rather message a business than call customer service, and 67% expect to message businesses even more over the next two years, he wrote.

“Messaging has now become a preferred way for people to communicate with businesses to get things done, and sometimes learn a little more about the brand,” Marcus shared. “We’re looking at investment in messaging experiences not only from global brands, but small businesses who need to be creative and nimble to stay competitive.”

Messenger reached several milestones last year, including hitting the 1.3 billion active users mark, 500 billion emojis and 18 billion GIFs sent, as well as hosting 17 billion video chats – twice the number it reached in 2016.

“Now we’re setting our sights on 2018 to make Messenger the best way to spend time together when you’re apart, or to make plans to spend more time together in the real world,” he wrote.