Remember when Facebook spun off Messenger as a separate app back in 2014, and no one really understood why? It appears that Facebook itself wasn’t exactly sure what it was trying to achieve.
According to Bloomberg, Facebook is now bringing some key Messenger features — namely, voice and video calls — to the Facebook main app.
Originally, chats and calls were a part of the Messenger feature which was an integral part of Facebook’s main app. But starting in 2014, users had to download a separate app, Messenger, to access these features.
The company is currently testing the feature in the U.S. and other markets. Connor Hayes, director of product management at Messenger, told Bloomberg the idea is to reduce the need to jump back and forth between the Facebook and Messenger apps.
These are not the only Messenger features Facebook is bringing back to its main app. According to Bloomberg, Facebook started testing a limited version of Messenger’s inbox in the Facebook main app. The company also started merging Messenger with Instagram’s direct messages back in September 2020.
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According to Hayes, Facebook is starting to look at Messenger as a service, rather than a standalone app. So, you might see Messenger features built into more and more Facebook products “over time,” said Hayes.
There could be another reason why Facebook is looking to integrate all of its products together in a tighter fashion. In December 2020, the Federal Trade Commission alleged in a lawsuit that Facebook was a monopoly, and that it should be broken up, reinstating Instagram and WhatsApp as separate companies. The complaint was dismissed in June 2021, but there’s a chance that the FTC can make the same case again in the future.