Facebook continues to push their updates to Messenger. Last week, at their annual F8 conference, The Social Network unveiled the much-anticipated Messenger Bot Store, which will enable businesses to build their own automated response bots on the Messenger platform. The week before that Facebook announced a raft of new connection features, including Page usernames and Messenger Codes to facilitate faster connection.
And they don't look to be slowing anytime soon - today, via a Facebook post, Vice President of Messaging Products David Marcus has announced the global roll-out of group calling in Messenger.
As noted in Marcus' post, to access the new function, you simply need to tap on the phone icon within any group chat on Messenger which will start up a group call, allowing you to select call members and converse. You can add up to 50 people to the group conversation (though you'd expect there might be some connectivity issues at that number).
It's worth noting that at this stage the option is audio only, Facebook video calls are still only available one-on-one, but you'd expect that option will be coming soon also, and that no doubt scares the pants off of other players like Skype.
As noted, the addition is just the latest in a long line of updates all geared around making Messenger a more central part of how we interact with... well, everything. And there's good reason for Facebook's focus on Messenger - the platform now has 900 million monthly active users, up from 800 million just 3 months ago. This also comes on the back of a Pew Research Report published last August which showed that, outside of meeting in person, text messaging is the dominant form of communication amongst teen users, with nothing else even coming close.
Add to that the meteoric rise of Snapchat, which is now the preferred social network among teens, and it's clear that messaging is the future of communication. Maybe it's not for you, maybe you don't feel overly comfortable interacting with bots or conducting business transactions via message, but the numbers indicate that the next generation absolutely does, which points to a Messenger dominated social landscape moving forward.
This latest addition is just the next step in Facebook's plans for world domination via message. Following the lead of Asian message giants like WeChat, Facebook's planning to develop messenger into an all-encompassing tool that can be used for virtually any interactive purpose. And while it's not there yet, and not everyone sees it coming, as the platform advances and user behaviors evolve, it's not hard to imagine the platform becoming the core of your day-to-day process.
Expect the innovations and updates for Facebook Messenger to keep coming - in line with Facebook's common credo, the project is "only 1% complete". Oftentimes when Facebook says this, it's more just a motivational line, a mission statement to capture their overall vision. But with Messenger, it may actually be correct.
Brands, and users alike, need to be paying attention.