Messenger offers some features that users may appreciate, such as better text messaging. This is because it allows for group chats and improved video and photo sharing. The Chat Heads function allows you to see a friend’s profile picture when they message you. It even works when you use a different app. A big perk is that it allows users to make free voice calls via WiFi. If both are not connected at the time, messages will go to voice mail.
While half a billion users is nothing to sneeze at, the fact it was forced on people tarnishes the shine a bit. Plus, other mobile apps have more users or close to the same amount, without the coercion behind them.
Facebook users were not initially happy with being pushed into using the app, but it did double its user numbers because of the move. More is on the way that may help calm some of the angry users. One upcoming addition is that of payments via Messenger. Pin numbers and debit codes can be added which will allow users to send one another money, similar to how they can send each other photos.
A downside is spelled out by the Daily Herald which notes, “The problem with over-the-top messaging is that, compared to old-style text messaging via wireless, which it is quickly replacing, it barely makes any money. According to Deloitte, messenger apps carry 50 billion messages a day this year, while mobile operators only deliver 21 billion text messages a day, but the operators’ SMS revenue will amount to $100 billion, compared with $2 billion for all the apps combined. Because Facebook makes most of its money from advertising, the Messenger breakout could backfire for it in the medium term, further reducing the main app’s attention share while failing to make up for the revenue loss.”
Given Zuckerberg’s track record, he will find a way to work around the trouble, but it raises the question as to whether adding advertising in the future will somehow be part of his solution.
(Photo courtesy of Maria Elena)