Next week, Facebook will open the floodgates for app makers to do more cool stuff with Facebook Messenger. They will be letting outside developers incorporate their own ideas directly within the chat service so you’ll never have to leave the app.
Facebook will be taking a page out of the playbooks of hugely popular Korean messenger app Line and Chinese app WeChat, both of which have already gone this more open route.
Taking those apps as our cue, here are some of the crazy things Facebook Messenger’s 500 million users might well be able to do soon:
- Book a hotel: The Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore lets travellers book their rooms and dining arrangements with WeChat messages.
- Control your hotel room: At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, WeChat demonstrated a “smart room of the future” that would let hotel guests set room temperature, turn off the lights, and close the blinds all within the chat app.
- Pay your phone bill: WeChat has partnered up with Digi Telecommunications in Malaysia to let customers pay their bills from right within the chat app.
- Buy movie tickets: WeChat builds movie ticket buying right to the app, down to selecting seats.
- Interact with museum exhibits: The Dinos Alive dinosaur theme park in South Africa has an official WeChat account to let users learn more about the great lizards.
- Shop for sales: Popular Asian online retailers like Zalora let users shop the sales directly within the app.
- Send Snapchat-style short videos: Line’s Snapmovie app lets users record and edit short movies and share them with their friends.
And get ready for your favourite brands and media outlets to jump on board with sponsored channels that feed you news via Facebook message.
Otherwise, though, Facebook’s endgame is to make sure users spend as much time in the app as possible. The key to that is to let developers build all kinds of weird and cool stuff into the app.
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