#Facebook is really stepping up its game and showing why they made such a push for a standalone messaging app last year. In the company's annual F8 conference, in San Francisco, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has just announced a major revamp of the app, which will include the ability to communicate with businesses.
Here's how it works: Facebook is opening up the app to third-parties, transforming it into a Messenger Platform. So companies will be able to integrate all sorts of apps into it. "We'll help people to express themselves in rich new ways," Zuckerberg said in the opening keynote, "giving people more tools for expression." One of those tools is being able to communicate with the businesses they care about.
"People still call businesses when they need them," he added. Well, not anymore if Facebook can help it. He demonstrated how someone can, for instance, change a order just placed on a company's website. Ask to change the colour, add more items, request info or even make a reservation.
The feature, Zuckerberg said, will "start rolling out pretty soon."
There's also a ton of other fun features, like the ability to turn your texts into pop songs or sending pics that transform into GIFs. The platform is kicking off with 40 apps partnering right away and that figure should increase exponentially, given the popularity of Facebook Messenger. Launched four years ago - but only made mandatory in April 2014 - Messenger now boasts 600 million users. Facebook aims to reinvent the way people communicate and how they use online shopping.
Aside from Messenger's big news, Facebook also introduced a few other tweaks. One is the ability to take a video published on the social network and publish it on your website, available starting now through the Facebook embedded video player. Other is something some people might dread: comments made on a website like Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, confirmed partners, will also appear on the Facebook page. That might deter some nasty commenters, though.
On day #2 of F8, which is gathering over 3,000 developers in San Francisco, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer and Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash will discuss the team's longer term efforts to connect everyone in the world.