Messenger : Facebook’s attempt at Unbundling
Facebook, the social media behemoth, truly is the biggest social media platform, and rightly so, because of the sheer variety of tools it provides it’s users so that they may share every moment of their lives with the people they deem worthy. From Photos to Pokes, Videos to Video calling, Facebook truly is the jack of all trades.
Facebook has also jumped onto the unbundling bandwagon with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying, in an interview with New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo:
So Facebook is not one thing. On desktop where we grew up, the mode that made the most sense was to have a website, and to have different ways of sharing built as features within a website. So when we ported to mobile, that’s where we started — this one big blue app that approximated the desktop presence.
But I think on mobile, people want different things. Ease of access is so important. So is having the ability to control which things you get notifications for. And the real estate is so small. In mobile there’s a big premium on creating single-purpose first-class experiences.
So what we’re doing with Creative Labs is basically unbundling the big blue app.
While the “Creative labs” division of Facebook shut down, Facebook did manage to take the sledgehammer to their big blue app, and break it down into little app chunks which now take up screen space on your mobile device of choice. The idea behind it, according to Facebook, is that it allows consumers to have a faster, more focused experience for the task they want to perform, while still linking to the mother-ship.
Facebook messenger now exists as an independent app. Built for one singular purpose…. chat! While it did face a lot of criticism from users, all that lies in the past now, as messenger has become one of the most popular apps out there. In a report by Nielsen, a market research company, of the top mobile apps of 2015, messenger sits at the number 3 spot with 96.4 million average unique users, while Facebook (Surprise! Surprise!) still holds the number one spot with 126.7 million average unique users.
A Facebook account isn’t even necessary to use the messenger app. Like WhatsApp, a chat application that was recently purchased by Facebook, a phone number is enough. Messenger aims to replace SMS as the primary mode of communication on the phone, with a comprehensive set of features to let it do so with ease. Facebook has even opened up messenger to third party developers, which will bring a whole slew of features to the platform. This will allow the platform to grow and flourish independent of it’s parent app. Kind of like a teenager getting old enough to move out of the parent’s basement.
At the end of the day, it’s a number’s game. The app with the most amount of developers and users win. Where users go, developers will follow. This is where not requiring a Facebook account can come in handy. There are potential users in emerging markets that may not have a Facebook account, these are the people messenger hopes to target and get on board. Despite the initial backlash, messenger has grown into a widely accepted, fully functional platform, and doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.