Facebook is acting more like its darling competitor Snapchat. Messenger, the network’s chat app, was pushed off the main tab of the core app Wednesday and now a day later the company has released several features to make connecting with people and businesses easier.
Messenger users will soon access scannable codes, usernames and links they can share with others to start conversations. The features require no action by the user but instead will be created and found automatically in a user’s settings tab within the Messenger app. Along with the update, Facebook announced more than 900 million users are active on Messenger every month.
The updates are the latest step in Facebook’s effort to make Messenger a go-to system to connect with people and businesses regardless of their connections on the core Facebook app. “Phone numbers aren’t necessary, and you don’t have to be friends on Facebook,” a Facebook post from the Messenger team reads.
Interestingly, each of the new features has been a longtime asset of the mobile storytelling app Snapchat. Most notably, scannable codes, or QR codes, were seen as a failed tech innovation until Snapchat brought them to its millennial-filled app. Facebook users automatically have their own Messenger code on the settings tab. It can be scanned within Messenger to launch a thread.
“No more back and forth with texts trying to make sure you have the right number saved and awkwardly asking people how to spell their names,” the blog post reads.
These features are available to everyday users as well as businesses that use Facebook pages. Users will soon see usernames for businesses on their Facebook pages. A user can then send a message with one click, and pages can also share links to Messenger accounts on other sites.
“Because each username is unique, they also help people to identify your exact business, even if you have a relatively common name,” a blog post to businesses reads.
In the last year, Facebook has been developing Messenger more for businesses and developers. At Facebook’s annual F8 conference for developers last April, the company announced opening up its Messenger as a platform so companies could build third-party integrations. Now, Messenger users can play games, request an Uber and book an airline ticket within the app. Facebook has also been testing M, an artificial intelligence system, in Messenger.
Facebook F8 2016 runs April 12-13.