Facebook began today applying several changes to their instant messaging app, Facebook Messenger. Changes are part of an update where the main goal is to provide users a better experience, more adapted to their needs. “Reinventing the inbox” is the statement behind the update, according to David Marcus, the Vice President of messaging products. The changes will be introduced across the world this week in the mobile app.
The interface of the inbox will now have a Favorites section, where users can find the contacts they chat with the most, instead of just having them in the Active Now tab. Birthday reminders will also be included in the messaging service and not only on the Facebook Home Page like it has been so far.
Trying to keep up with people
To Facebook, people connect in new ways and the apps must adapt to that reality. Simpler and easier ways to start conversations are among the things Facebook Messenger is trying to figure out. Chronological lists of threads are no longer the easiest way to communicate, so the approach, according to David Marcus, must change that structure and transform the conversations’ history into a more relevant model.
They aim to provide users more relevant content using their individual characteristics, with new algorithms that allow the company detect what must be ahead of other updates for individual users.
— Messenger (@messenger) June 17, 2016
The messages in the inbox will also integrate with standard SMS texts in the Android version, what means a major change since it allows users to communicate with others even when those receivers do not use the Facebook Messenger app, where in that case, the person will receive the text as a standard SMS and the sender will receive the response in his or her inbox.
To Facebook, all these changes are part of the first step to the reinvention of the instant messaging app.
Criticism around the ‘reinvention’
Some tech-specialized writers and analysts are not that happy with the update implemented since they consider it does not include enough innovative features to call it a reinvention.
The latest update is a no-brainer, it is not a surprise but a natural evolution of the Facebook platform. Today, major tech companies have to find ways to keep their users in that environment for longer periods of time. Consumers spend 84 percent of their time in just five apps. Facebook owns a lot of those mobile moments and all the companies that target those moments will all fight fiercely to own this,” said Julie Ask, an analyst at the Forrest Research.
Indeed, Facebook in 2015 was the first smartphone app of 2015 and their messaging app, Facebook Messenger, was the third, with Youtube in the middle. Google and Apple are the other companies that dominate that market, with the Maps app and Music.
Taking a 1st stab at reinventing the inbox, meet your new home on Messenger pic.twitter.com/XLzz6FWxYd
— David Marcus (@davidmarcus) June 16, 2016
Facebook Messenger has about 97 million users only in the U.S. and more than 900 million worldwide.
Source: News Factor