Yesterday Facebook announced the conscious uncoupling of their messaging feature from its core app. Some exceptions exist – such as if you use Paper (both of you) or some third world variant of their app. However this announcement started me thinking. Disbanding Facebook Messenger from the Facebook app as a whole is a completely absolutely brilliant move. Here’s why.
Facebook’s Brilliant Move to Uncouple Facebook Messenger
Everyone is talking about the move to force a standalone messenger onto users as one that is purely technical. As if the move only makes sense because it makes Facebook’s core application easier to use. Hogwash.
- Nobody calls anymore. My GF Jennifer operates a daycare. Guess HOW her employees communicate with her? Text messaging by phone. Every single one. Nobody calls. This includes calling out sick (which she just told me one of her employees did – though the employee was too sick so her BF had to text for her !! ). The press and journalists are basically upset that they mucked up their private Facebook accounts in the early by accepting every friend request. This causes a disproportionate number of articles to be slanted against Facebook. It’s mostly sour grapes that in early days these tech insiders didn’t have the vision to see service would grow beyond a nifty new technology to “try out”.
- Facebook has the problem of people not wanting to “Friend the boss” so by disgorging Messenger from the core product Facebook can move farther from the idea that using Facebook Messenger means that your boss/coworkers are reading all about your “lost weekend”. Facebook needs to do this if they want to grow the use of their messaging application.
- Messenger is pretty good. No – scratch that. It’s amazing. Yes there are the regular troll-like and pissed-off-journalist comments such as “well I hate Facebook and I uninstalled it”. So what. Technically Messenger is a great messaging app. It does everything the competition does – and it’s constantly updated by one of the best funded tech companies on the planet. Messenger goes cross platform without breaking a sweat and it BLOWS Google out of the water simply because you only need one Facebook identity vs Google’s crippling tendency to force multiple Google accounts on users (so WHICH Google account should I send a Hangout request to? ). If you think some of these tiny startups that are mimicking Whatsapp are going to stay around or you’re going to convince every one of your friends to join an esoteric alternative messaging service – keep dreaming.
- All of your friends have FB accounts. Ok – maybe not all. There are some hermits who’ve taken a stand against Facebook and bathing and using a computer. But the vast majority of connected adults have a Facebook account. And in many cases you can connect directly to them with Facebook Messenger even if you are not friends.
- The phone carriers have all been completely unsuccessful at creating a “next step” alternative to SMS and MMS. In my view this move by Facebook to create a Messenger standalone IS your next step SMS/MMS. Just about every smartphone user will have Facebook Messenger installed.
I will not be at all surprised if Facebook reintroduces the ability for their Android app to also receive and send SMS and MMS. This is a feature they used to allow but quietly removed. This move by Facebook to create only a standalone Messenger application is way more than merely technical.
Say hello to the next generation SMS/MMS.