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Facebook Launches Stand-Alone Messaging App for iOS and Android

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Facebook just announced the launch of its new messaging app for Android and iOS devices.

Facebook has been working on new messaging services for a while now, starting with the announcement of its new and enhanced messaging system last November. Earlier this year, Facebook also bought the group messaging app Beluga and it looks like that acquisition is now starting to pay dividends. Today, Facebook announced Messenger, its own, Facebook-branded messaging app for iOS and Android.

According to Beluga’s co-founder and now Facebook employee Lucy Zhang, “messaging should be easy” and you shouldn’t have to think whether you should email or text a person. Instead, says Facebook, “you should be able to write a message, click “Send” and know that you will reach the person right away.” Messenger tries to approximate this goal by delivering notifications and texts to your friends through whatever means you are connected to them.

There is nothing highly exciting about the messaging app as such. It’s not available in the iTunes store yet, so I can’t review it in detail. Judging from Facebook’s screenshots, though, it’s a capable group messaging app with some interesting location-sharing features built-in.

Why a Stand-Alone App?

Why did Facebook decide to create this as a stand-alone app, though, and didn’t integrate it into its existing apps? Facebook’s Lucy Zhang says that it’s meant to simplify the process, as you just have to click once and can start messaging right away. This seems like a pretty good reason, but it would still be nice if Facebook also offered the same functionality within its flagship app as well.



7:23 pm


As FarmVille’s Crops Wither, Microsoft Messenger Takes Aim at CityVille

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FarmVille’s star is slowly fading. Zygna’s former flagship game is now only the third-most popular app on Facebook. Even as more and more crops wither due to their owners’ neglect, over 20 Million Internet users added to Zynga‘s bottom line yesterday by getting into the virtual construction business with the current #1 on Facebook: CityVille.

In between these two, though, is a surprise: Microsoft Messenger with close to 14.5 million users yesterday according to AppData’s stats, Messenger, an app that most early adopters never think about, allows its users to easily chat with both their Messenger and Facebook friends. Looking at the daily user numbers, Messenger is currently the most popular app on Facebook that is not a game.

Top Apps Leaderboard Facebook

I first took a look at the state of Messenger on Facebook last November and called its arrival in the Facebook top 3 (by daily active users) a “surprise.” Since then, though, Messenger has settled in the #2 spot nicely and continues to grow rapidly.

Messenger’s daily user numbers are up by over 300,000 over the last week. CityVille, on the other hand, lost 600,000 daily users over the same period, while FarmVille lost almost 500,000. With regards to fans on Facebook, Messenger only trails CityVille by just about 250,000 (9.8 million vs. 1.05 million likes)

Microsoft, of course, has also integrated Facebook into its desktop version of the Messenger app, which is likely a factor behind how well Messenger is doing on Facebook. Over 18 million Messenger users have already connected their chat accounts to Facebook. Facebook, of course, is all about communication at its core, so it makes sense that an app like Messenger would do well there, but given the might of Zynga’s social gaming empire, it’s still quite a surprise to see Microsoft in this group.

As I’ve said before, though, I also think that this speaks to how the mindset at Microsoft has changed over the last few years. Instead of building its own Facebook clone (and likely failing badly at it), the company has embraced working with market leaders in other areas, be that integrating other social networks deeply into Microsoft Live or working with Kayak to integrate better flight data into Bing.



10:05 am