Facebook has come a long way with its Messenger feature. The company opted to put its instant messaging capabilities on a separate app that users have to download on their mobile phones and it seems that this move was strategic. It has allowed them to introduce more features, allowing Messenger to work as a standalone application even without the Facebook network. Here are the newest developments that we can look forward to with Facebook Messenger and how it aims to bring in more fun and functions:

Free Video Calling
In a post published on Facebook’s newsroom blog on April 27, Facebook unveiled their free video calling feature. Now, you can have face-to-face conversations via Facebook Messenger – just tap the video icon located on the upper right corner of the conversation screen.

This feature is now available for Android and iOS in Canada, the US, the UK, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Laos, Lithuania, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, and Uruguay. Other countries will be able to use this new feature in the coming months.

Send Money to Friends
This new and upcoming feature in Messenger is free and allows users in the US to conveniently send and receive money via online credit card transfer. Facebook claims that the security systems set in place for this feature include encryption and multiple software and hardware improvements to keep credit card information safe and separate from the Facebook network.

To send money, users simply have to add a Visa or MasterCard debit card issued by a bank within the US; after which, you can create a PIN to make transactions and verifications more secure. You may also use Touch ID for authentication.

Businesses on Messenger
Facebook is also finding ways for businesses to easily reach consumers via Messenger. Through Businesses on Messenger, consumers can easily receive updates from websites they purchase from, as well as relevant information such as shipping status updates, order confirmation and tracking orders. With this new feature, Facebook aims to create a streamlined and trackable messaging thread that allows users to track their transactions with online sellers.

Messenger Platform
During the F8 Facebook Developer Conference, Facebook announced a new platform allowing developers to create apps that seamlessly integrate with Messenger. As of late, there are 40 new apps that allow users to send different types of media, from pictures to audio clips, to enhance the whole Messenger experience. If you’re a developer, you can head on to Messenger.com/platform to learn more.

18 Comments
  1. I’ve never been too keen on Messenger at all and only use it because there’s no other choice if I want to have a Facebook chat on my phone. So I’m pleased to read that improvements are being made – hopefully, they will contribute towards a smoother user experience.

  2. I don’t use it much. I have friends that use it on their phones almost exclusively however. Some of the new features seem interesting. I wonder what kind of market share messenger has right now?

    • WhatsApp is actually the market leader, with a 44% share. Messenger comes second, with 35% of the market. These stats apply to both Android and iOS devices.

  3. My initial feeling towards Facebook Messenger when they began rolling it out and forcing it on their users was why do we need this service? Why can’t we just access our messages from the site and spare the hassle. But you know, the app has really grown on me and the UI is neat and nicely laid out.

    It’s good to see some cool new features for it. Of course you still have to pay for video calling in one way or another when it comes to your internet service provider and the incurring data charges. However, the best new feature I’d say is having the ability to send money to friends. That is a useful, easy way to send or receive cash. It just needs wide scale usability and solid assurance of security.

    • It does have a leg up on Paypal, by having being able to loan money to friends. Paypal’s a merchant service more than the everyday shopper’s, and Facebook stepping into fill that need is an interesting step for them.

      Then again, they’re monetizing any way they can so they were bound to load something into the gun that’d stick on the barn wall.

  4. I’m still concerned with the security flaws that were pointed out a short time back, as well as the general inclination of Facebook to push the messenger on their users whether or not they want it.

    I don’t personally use Facebook as I disagree with many of their business practices. Their intrusive advertisement system grinds at my gears, so I just can’t bring myself to use it.

    That said, this is a pretty significant leap forward for their messenger division, and shows they’re still trying to work on their base products rather than focus too much on their advertisement angle. Shows there is still a little love in their hearts for the people that make them filthy rich.

  5. That’s really interesting. I’m not a Facebook app user myself, but I’ve seen it and I thought there used to be a lot of bugs for people who use it and it needed a lot of improvements. I’m really glad Facebook is doing something about it because I can see Facebook addicts would love this.

  6. Personally I would never use the send money function, it’s way too much of a risk for me even with all the supposed security.

    Also, I don’t think Facebook Messenger would last in the long run, just like how MSN messenger and other IM services are virtually dead now. I wouldn’t count on investing in these services in the long run.

  7. First Snapchat uses Snapcash to allow users to send money via instant messages. Now it’s Facebook Messenger. Hmm. It looks like we’re gonna see a lot more dependency on social media and instant messaging than we really though we would be.

    • I had no idea you could do that in Snapchat! Have you heard anything about the users abusing the feature or a lot scam reports? I can imagine what chaos and damage it could cause if a hacker dared to hack into those records. You never know, there are so many clever people out there who can surely do this, I mean, hacker nowadays can even hack a plane!

      • It’s bad enough phones get stolen, but imagine what could happen if a thief finds your phone and you use Snapcash. I’m not sure how strict the security requirements are, but I’m pretty sure if you have the device you can get around most of them.

  8. Sending money to friends, uh? Well, good idea on paper, very bad idea in practice, if they don’t manage to handle security the way it should. I mean, personal info is nothing to screw with, let alone when it comes to credit cards and money. However, I really dig the free video calling, I used to Skype my mom and had to switch apps every time, maybe this will make less of a hassle in the future! 🙂

    • I think it’s interesting what you’ve mentioned about Skype because a lot of people do switch and they eventually go back to it. I don’t know about your experience but it’s always good to have alternatives.

    • Yeah, I actually think a lot people will use that feature so very wrong, very few friends will actually use this to send money to friends or relatives. I think this will be used by a lot scamers, oh yes, sending money to scamers made easy, no doubt about it! I just don’t think it’s such a good idea to use such an app.

  9. I didn’t really like the app in the past. I was forced to use it just because Facebook made it a part of the official app.
    I’ve grown quite fond of it over the course of time though, they’ve really improved the app and it’s much nicer to use now.

  10. Looks like Zuckerberg is looking for ways for Facebook to stay relevant. Well played Mr. Zuckerberg! I can see how these new features will make this app even more popular. I think a lot people will benefit from the free video calling option, who knows a lot people might actually prefer this app over Skype. I hope the send money option is not abused by scamers, but it surely will. Way to update the app 🙂

  11. I use Facebook messenger all the time and love it. I don’t have to access it via the app but can if I choose. The video calling is kind of cool, a bit startling at first when someone starts calling you from your Facebook. But the sending money thing freaks me out a little. I can see where it would be useful, but money transfer via such a huge network like Facebook is a little scary. Then again, I’ve always been a little nervous sending money online to begin with, so I’m sure I’ll get over myself and enjoy it after a while.

  12. I do use Facebook Messenger because I have to and I don’t have any problems with it, I didn’t know about the money sending feature though although I’m not sure I’d use it. I much prefer to use Whatsapp than Facebook Messenger anyway, the design is much better and I think it’s easier to use. I realised today that I hardly send text messages anymore because I just Whatsapp all the time, everything is changing so fast!

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