Facebook has revamped Messenger

Facebook launched a new, simplified version of Messenger, dubbed Messenger 4, which started rolling out this week. Messenger 4 provides a simplified user experience by making it easier to navigate the chat app’s various features. This is a big step in appealing to Messenger users’ preferences, as more than 7 in 10 (71%) say simplicity is the top priority to them in a messaging app, according to Facebook.

The streamlined interface in Messenger 4 will better facilitate communication and discovery. The updated app reduces the number of tabs within Messenger from nine to three — Chats, People, and Discover — which lets users more quickly access Messenger’s features.

For instance, the new Chats tab houses one-to-one and group conversations, enabling users to quickly switch between their group and individual conversations within one location; previously, users had to switch between separate group and individual chat tabs to do so.

Additionally, the new Discover tab enables users to access Instant Games, business conversations, and travel booking features in one location. Previously, users had to switch between a separate Games tab and Discover tab to do those activities. The People tab houses a list of active Messenger users, Stories, and the ability to search for friends — whereas before, those features were scattered between the Home tab and People tab.

Streamlining Messenger’s interface is a smart move for Facebook, as it will likely spur deeper engagement in the app. Since a majority of Messenger users value simplicity above all else, the updated app will likely enable a more enjoyable experience for a large portion of users, potentially resulting in longer average sessions. The streamlined interface could benefit brands as well, since users who open the Discover tab to see the news or play Instant Games could also be exposed to business-facing chats in the same location.

Source: businessinsider.com; 26 Oct 2018

Google is adding much more helpful search to Android Messages

After giving the app a fresh coat of paint and a new dark mode in recent weeks, Google is now adding some helpful features to Android Messages. In a blog post today, the company showed off a more powerful search experience that users will start seeing this week, which will let them find specific content types (images, videos, etc.) spanning all conversations or on an individual-chat basis.

So you’ll be able to tap on someone’s name and scroll down a sleek list of messages, media, and even locations that you and the other person have exchanged.

This is the sort of useful organization and decluttering that’s pretty common in other messaging apps, but for those who find themselves using SMS often, it’s nice to see Google making things a little more intuitive.

Google has much bigger plans for Messages, of course. The best parts of “Chat,” the company’s vision for a world where messaging is powered by RCS, are still to come.

Source: theverge.com; 25 Sep 2018

WeChat leads China’s mobile messaging market

Mobile messaging service WeChat is by far the No. 1 chat app for users in China, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast of worldwide mobile messaging users.

This year, more than 494 million people in China are expected to use the app at least once per month, with 84.5% of all mobile phone messaging app users in the country on the platform.

WeChat’s dominance in a market that effectively skipped email and went straight to instant messaging creates huge opportunity for marketers. eMarketer estimates that more than 585 million individuals in China will use a mobile messaging app this year—equivalent to 75.8% of all internet users.

WeChat, known as Weixin in China, was created by Chinese tech giant Tencent in 2011 and expanded overseas the following year. The app has since grown in scope and has transformed the way users in China live their day-to-day lives. Aside from sending messages, users can order food, transfer money and book airline tickets on the app. In addition, WeChat also functions as a social media platform, where users can post pictures, videos and articles.

Unsurprisingly, smartphone users are often WeChat users. eMarketer expects 79.1% of smartphone users in China to use WeChat this year.

“WeChat is by far the most advanced mobile messaging app worldwide in terms of its functionality and the services it offers users and businesses,” said Cathy Boyle, eMarketer’s principal analyst of mobile. “Where the app falls short is in its global reach. However, for businesses interested in marketing products and services in China—and increasingly to Chinese people living or traveling abroad—WeChat is the best messaging app to use.”

Source: marketing-interactive.com; 12 July 2017