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Changes are coming to Facebook Messenger with simplicity in mind
- The head of Facebook Messenger says the app became cluttered, but the company will look to simplify the app.
- Facebook Messenger will put an emphasis on audio and video chatting in 2018.
- Messenger is also trying to make customer service easier by allowing users to chat with companies.
Facebook’s head of Messenger David Marcus published a new blog post detailing the issues the company sees with Messenger and what it is going to do to address them. Facebook is responding to feedback about the app that has spiraled from a messenger app to a little bit of everything. This follows up a recent announcement that Facebook is changing how your News Feed will look.
“The app became too cluttered,” Marcus admitted in his blog post. “Expect to see us invest in massively simplifying and streamlining Messenger this year.”
Facebook Messenger has added chatbots, advertisements, games. It also added AR features to take on Snapchat. All of those additions left the app feeling unfocused and drifting from its core function of letting people talking to with each other.
But just because Facebook is going to streamline Messenger doesn’t mean that everything is leaving. There are opportunities to redesign features so they’re not always in your face. Others can be tucked away until they’re needed. Games and bots don’t need to be front and center, or even need to be in their own tab. That space can be used for features that allow people to connect both online and offline.
One of the areas that Facebook Messenger is going to focus on in 2018 is voice and video messaging. Facebook puts a significant emphasis on live video, so it isn’t surprising Messenger would too. Messenger will emphasize group video chatting, while also improving how people share photos and videos. Facebook already has a split-screen group chat called Bonfire that could be baked into Messenger in the future.
Additionally, Facebook may add Safety Check into Messenger. “No one wants to miss a special moment, but real time communication is what connects us in times of crisis too… we want to make sure you can celebrate a cousin’s engagement from the other side of the world as well as make sure your friend is safe after a natural disaster,” writes Marcus. Safety Check already allows users to check in when a disaster hits. But, a more personalized version could roll out for specific message threads or group chats.
Messenger could also change the way people interact with customer service. As Marcus rightly points out, “Calling a business ranks pretty high up on the list of things we don’t want to do on any given day.” Facebook Messenger can connect people and businesses through chats to fix issues that otherwise would take a call to address. Most people would rather message a company, and this can save time, effort, and money on both ends.
Last but not least: advertisements. They’re a fact of life at this point, and they’re not going anywhere. Facebook Messenger will display ads, but Marcus admitted that they felt interruptive when they first rolled out. Facebook plans to let companies build filters to better target users or add augmented reality masks as a less obtrusive way to advertise. “Look for investment in rich messaging experiences not only from global brands but small businesses who need to be creative and nimble to stay competitive,” he wrote.