Is Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) taking over the messaging realm? It at least appears it is trying to as it announced it will open up Facebook Messenger for users and non-users. The newest adjustment allows consumers to just simply type in a name and a phone number.
When users launch the app, the latest update will see individuals asked the question “Not on Facebook?” The next step is to sign up with their name, phone number and an image.
Moreover, users will be permitted to utilize Facebook’s search function to locate people they want to communicate with but did not provide Facebook with their number.
The social network giant, which recently became more valuable than Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), believes this will make the messaging app more widely available. The company came to this conclusion after internal research found that a growing number of consumers wanted to use the mobile messaging service but didn’t want to sign up for Facebook.
Facebook’s Presence in Emerging Markets
David Marcus, head of Messenger, revealed to TechCrunch on Thursday this move will help Facebook improve upon its presence in emerging markets.
The only way we can grow in those markets is for people who aren’t on Facebook to be able to join,” Marcus said. “We don’t want to stop until everyone is on the platform because it makes for such a better experience when you know you can find everyone.”
Marcus did deny, however, that this is an endeavor to instill Facebook into nations where its blocked, like China. It wouldn’t work, he says, because the company’s large number of IP addresses are restricted so Messenger would be blocked as well.
He told the Wall Street Journal that even though people without an account are in the minority in today’s marketplace, messaging has now become an essential tool. “Messaging is such a primary use case we didn’t want to make it a prerequisite to have a Facebook account.”
Facebook Messenger, which was launched in 2011, has approximately 600 million users. To enhance the user experience, Facebook added several new features this year, like video calling and mobile games.
Also, it prompted users to download the app if they wished to send private messages through their smartphones.
Despite the projected increase in users, it remains unclear as to how Facebook will make money. This is particularly concerning because Messenger will now enter a crowded field. An immense number of global users are utilizing Google Hangouts, Snapchat, WeChat and Facebook-owned WhatsApp.
In any case, Messenger will prove to be even more successful in the immediate future. Consider this data from Deutsche Bank: each day, the average WhatsApp user launches the app about 25 times, compared to the average Facebook user who visits the site 15 times a day. Now that you won’t need an account on the social network, this number will likely spike significantly.
Facebook continues to add and improve its array of functions. Earlier this month, Facebook announced a new photo-sharing app called Moments.