After announcing during its F8 developer conference that Messenger was set to get third-party app integration, social network giant Facebook has pushed out an update to its free iOS app enabling the feature.
Optimized for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, the recently refreshed Facebook Messenger (version 24.0) indeed allows users to “use other apps” in order to “express yourself in fun, new ways,” Facebook explains. Among the first iOS applications to receive Messenger integration is Giphy, which allows users to easily send GIFs to one another. ClipDis, Bitmoji, Ultratext and Pic Stitch have also made in appearance in the updated app.
Installing third-party apps in Facebook Messenger is as simple as touching a button, and after doing so, users will be able to access the application’s functionality in their chat interface. You can browse through a list of third-party apps already supported by Facebook Messenger from inside the app’s chat window; here, simply touch a button marked “…” and scroll through the services presented.
In the app’s release notes, Facebook touts Messenger’s new features, explaining that iOS device owners can use the app to:
- Send and receive GIFs, videos, photos and more
- Watch GIFs play automatically
- Instantly reply with the same app
- Easily install the apps your friends are using to send stuff to you
- Discover new apps to install right from Messenger
Of course, this is about more than just a few GIFs. As my colleague Brent explained recently, Facebook is pushing hard to monetize its Messenger service, which has a user base of more than 600 million people. You see, the newly unveiled platform allows businesses to integrate with Messenger, turning the application into a potential source of revenue for Facebook.
Historically, the social network has struggled to make cash on iOS. It took a while for ads to finally reach Instagram, especially considering that Facebook payed a hefty $1 billion for the photo editing and sharing service. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how Facebook’s Messenger strategy plays out. We’ll keep you updated with further information as we receive it.
In the meantime, the recently updated Facebook Messenger can be downloaded free of charge on the App Store, and it’s optimized for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
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