Facebook is positioning its Messenger app as a way to improve communications between online businesses and their customers.
At today's Facebook F8 conference in San Francisco, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company wants to make Messenger a way to communicate with businesses in the same manner that people use it to communicate with people. The new Business on Messenger capability, previewed at the event, is intended to foster these interactions,
Currently, people tend to rely on phone calls to communicate with businesses, but Facebook sees an opening for its Messenger platform in this vein, Zuckerberg explained. "Think about how easy it would be if you could just use messages."
For example, users could receive receipts or shipping information via Messenger. "Helping people communicate more naturally with businesses is going to improve, I think, almost every person's life," said Zuckerberg. Business on Messenger will launch initially with a handful of partners.
The company also introduced its Facebook Messenger Platform, for integrating apps with Messenger. It features more than 40 new apps enabling enhancement of conversations with media like GIFs, photos, videos, and audio clips.
Also introduced at the conference today, Facebook Analytics for Apps is a free tool for gauging an app's audience, measuring how an app is used and helping to grow an app through better ads. LiveRail, meanwhile, provides a monetization engine for businesses to give more yield across inventory, the ability to target via demographic data and control over monetization.
Facebook's Parse group launched SDKs for building applications for the Internet of things. Developers can use the Parse mobile application platform to build apps for connected devices ranging from garage door openers to wristbands.