Facebook looks as though it is gearing up to roll out several new features in Facebook Messenger including an in-store mobile payment option.
Clues in the code of the iPhone Facebook Messenger app — which includes commands such as “pay in person” and “pay directly in Messenger when you pick up the item” — imply that Messenger could be preparing an in-store purchasing method, according to The Information, which extracted and viewed software files from the current version of Messenger.
Facebook was not immediately available to comment.
You can already send money to a friend in Messenger, but the iOS app’s code suggests that Facebook has big plans for expanding Messenger as a payment tool. The peer-to-peer payment feature was also predicted months ahead of official release with an analysis of the app’s code, Engadget reported.
However, Mark Zuckerberg said during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call in January that Facebook would not launch its own payments fulfillment product.
The Facebook CEO even name-dropped Apple Pay as a potential partner (transcript provided by Seeking Alpha):
On payments, the basic strategy that we have is to make it especially in products like Messenger that where the business interaction maybe a bit more transactional, to take all the friction out of making the transactions that you need. So, we don’t view ourselves as a payments business, that’s not the type of company that we are. We’ll partner with everyone who does payment. We look at the stuff that Apple is doing with Apple Pay for example as a really neat innovation in the space that takes a lot of friction out of transactions as well. And our view is that the less friction, the better the user experience, the more people can easily interact with businesses that they care about. And ultimately for our business that will drive up the amount that businesses are willing to pay to advertise to send people into those interactions because they perform well. So it’s good for everyone but that’s how we think about that.
Other hints about the future of Messenger hidden in the app’s code include a “secret conversations tool,” according to The Information. There is no explanation for what this feature is — though it could hint at encrypted chats, as offered by other chat apps like WhatsApp and Telegram.
There is also code which mentions the capacity to add events and “organise your day” via Messenger, The Information reported.
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