Messaging apps are the biggest threat for social networks now. A fact that is well accepted by all the popular social networks including Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook. But that has not stopped the social network – that has more than 1.19B MAUs and 874M mobile users (as per Q3 reports) – in innovating its own messenger over time. According to Financial Express, Facebook, with its new version of messenger for Android and iOS devices, is planning to take on other popular standalone messaging apps in India, such as WhatsApp, WeChat, LINE and Hike.
Sharing about the features of the latest version, Peter Martinazzi, product manager for Messenger at Facebook, added that, “This will work across various versions of Android like Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean, and will be a lot faster than it used to be. That is because it’s every aspect is looked from a mobile-to-mobile world and has a lot of focus on performance and snappiness of the app.”
Talking about the app’s experience, Peter stated that a lot of effort has gone in the app to provide seamless experience in all devices. He further added that, “We have made sure that the experience is not compromised even when you are not using the best connection. We made sure that the experience is as snappy in lower-end Android phones as that in higher-end phones. This is on top of the Messenger app, which already exists for feature phones. We have considered these as separate issues as the capabilities of the devices are also different. A lot of work has gone into the feature phone experience of Messenger.”
The additional features that Facebook has added to its Messenger are sending messages to their contacts from phone, showing whether a user is on Messenger or Facebook, among others.
Meanwhile, Stickers or rich emoticons that are driving more interest for messaging apps and revenues have been included too. Recently Chumbak the makers of quirky Indian souvenirs, introduced a bunch of customized free stickers on both Messenger and Facebook apps on Android and iOS. These stickers are sure to catch the attention of users as they are the daily expressions or lingo often used in India while conversing with friends.
However, it would be too early to predict whether Facebook could pose a stiff competition to the likes of WhatsApp and others. WhatsApp, which is by far the most popular messaging app, has more than 300 million active monthly users and sees more than 25 million from India. The growth for WhatsApp has been without any marketing spends and it is yet to add features like Stickers to its app. Besides mobile messaging and VoIP Company, Viber Media recently announced that it has more that 15 million registered users in the country too.
Nevertheless, the messaging space in India is becoming pretty exciting with more players joining the race and trying to grab a bigger slice.