Facebook Messenger will let you download apps, message businesses

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At today’s f8 Facebook developer conference, founder Mark Zuckerberg announced two major changes to the Messenger app: 40 apps will be available to download within Messenger, letting users send things such as GIFs or music clips or ESPN footage to friends. Also, and most importantly to the B2B space, Messenger will soon let customers message businesses directly.

For example, users can reach out to companies about their recent purchases and find out when it ships in real-time or even modify the purchase. Essentially, Messenger will act as a live-chat service for customers looking to talk to the partner businesses.

So far, Businesses on Messenger has invited retailers Everlane and zully to take part in the launch. Zendesk is on tap to be the next firm folded into Messenger.

Today’s announcements follows up on what Facebook wants Messenger to be: its own mini-Facebook, a standalone product we saw coming when the social network didn’t allow Facebook users to message each other unless they downloaded Messenger. Also Facebook said it will allow payment between two Messenger users, which can only mean that the app is slowly becoming more of a platform than ever before.

As CNET writes: “Further expanding Messenger’s capability could help to make Facebook more relevant among smartphone owners who have grown accustomed to downloading apps for all manner of capabilities, from snapping photos to playing games.”

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