Facebook could announce new Messenger functionality next week

Justification for Facebook’s dedicated messaging app could come during the company’s developer conference next month, as the company is rumoured to be expanding the functionality of Messenger, turning it into a platform in its own right.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook plans to announce new ways for third parties to offer different experiences through Messenger at F8 in April. Sources told TechCrunch that Facebook wants to make Messenger more useful and will first focus on enabling a flow of information and content through Messenger. Facebook’s Messenger vision is said to be inspired by the likes of WeChat and LINE, both of which offer far more than just messaging. The company earlier this week announced the ability to send payments to friends, though this feature is exclusive to users in the U.S.

Next week’s F8 conference takes place on Wednesday and Thursday. In addition to updates on its social network, Facebook said this year’s conference will also include the other products in its portfolio — Oculus, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Though WhatsApp just recently started toying with a voice calling feature, Facebook seems content to limit the app’s functionality to basic communication for now.

Ever since it was spun off into its own standalone app last year, there’s been speculation that Facebook had bigger plans for the Messenger. Facebook announced another standalone app for Groups in November, though unlike Messenger, users can still access Groups from within the Facebook app.

[source]TechCrunch 1, 2[/source]