Facebook Messenger Hits Major New Milestone

By Steve Anderson November 11, 2014

While there are plenty of users out there who don't turn to the Facebook Messenger tool, those numbers are on something of a decline, according to recent reports from Facebook itself. Recently, the company turned a milestone, with over 500 million people per month turning to Messenger to make connections easier. But this new improvement has been just a small part of a larger overall plan, and one that some might not have expected to see from a company like Facebook.

Facebook Messenger, meanwhile, is on a tear, going from nothing in 2011, when the service launched, to better than a 500 million user count today. It was the first of Facebook's apps designed to operate on its own, and focused on just one particular function: sending and receiving messages, much as the name implies. Messenger offers the same kind of speed of contact that SMS messaging can offer, but opens up the floodgates in terms of what kind of content can be sent. Stickers, videos, selfies, group chat and even free calling is available to some extent here—light years beyond the straight text message. Better yet, Facebook makes regular updates to the service in a bid to help improve it beyond even its current scope. Updates ship every two weeks, at last report, so users seldom go wanting.

But this is actually part of a larger plan on Facebook's part, one that started one night over dinner when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called PayPal's CEO, David Marcus, over for dinner. Marcus had had dinner with Zuckerberg before, but this dinner would prove different. This dinner would end with a job offer, as Zuckerberg offered control of Facebook Messenger to David Marcus. It wouldn't be an easy job, as some regarded Facebook Messenger as integral to the company's future, and Facebook was coming from behind as it was thanks to the shift to mobile, as apps like Snapchat and Viber made a play for the market. But Facebook had no shortage of resources and with Marcus—who understood mobile and payments as well—at the helm, it could be a turning point for Facebook itself.

So Facebook Messenger, helmed by David Marcus, carries on with its development. Not surprisingly, mobile payments are on tap, as well as voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) service, a development that might go quite well for Facebook, elevating it from a social network to a complete communications alternative. Some believe the key turning point for Facebook was when it required users to get the separate app to perform the messaging function by removing that functionality from the main page itself. This was a move that angered plenty of users, but at the same time, seemed to be the only way to get users to move to the app. Now, with 500 million users and then some monthly on hand, it seems to be a strategy that proved effective in the end.

The landscape is changing rapidly, not only for Facebook but for most every online entity as well. With new media starting up, new applications, and a variety of new uses for old tools stepping into the fray, there's a lot of change afoot, and it's not often clear just which points will prove successful. Indeed, only time can tell that much, but Facebook certainly seems to have a handle on its future, and seeing just what Facebook comes out with next should be quite a thrill in its own right.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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