Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How Facebook Messenger Will Soon Rule Your Life

Mark Zuckerberg has a plan to take over the entire world. We all thought that Google would become our supreme leaders, but Emperor Zuck has a much better chance. Why? Because he has us using Facebook Messenger to run every facet of our lives — and we’re handing over all of our information to him in the process.
I have to admit right off the bat that I use Messenger too. But only sparingly. I am more of a Skype person myself. But when I do use it, I can see the advances being made, and where Facebook intends to take it in the future.
It’s inspiring to see Facebook Messenger’s potential, but also a bit scary to think how it could eventually dominate how people use the Net. You might be put off by all of the features it has, but you have to admit that this big boy is going places.

Messenger Could Eventually Be the Only Chat Program You Will Ever Use

The Zuck wants Messenger to be the only chat program you ever have to use. And to be honest, apart from Skype, there isn’t much stopping him. Google Talk has ended, and given Google’s propensity to shut things down which are not making them money, it may not be long before Hangouts is shuttered for good.
ICQ, IRC, AIM, and Yahoo Messenger? Pfff! 1995 called, they want their IM programs back. And Windows Live Messenger is now folded into Skype.
That pretty much leaves Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Skype (and the smaller league privacy-related apps, such as Telegram and Signal). Skype is big and powerful sure, being part of Microsoft. But does it have a social network of 1.6 billion users behind it? I don’t think so.
WhatsApp is part of Facebook, but who’s to say it won’t be folded into Messenger sometime in the future? Would Zuckerberg really be willing to let WhatsApp peel away potential Messenger users? What do you think?

You Will Be Phoning, Voice-Mailing & Video-Calling With Messenger

Apart from talking to your Facebook contacts, you can phone them, video-call them, or send them voicemails. There may come a day when phone numbers are a relic of the past, and to call someone, all we need to do is add them by Messenger username and then tap on their name to connect.
To call or video-call someone, just tap either the receiver icon, or the video camera icon in the top right hand corner.
And you don’t even need to be on Messenger to receive Facebook calls. You simply need to be running an up-to-date version of the Facebook app.
Sending a voicemail is as simple as clicking the three horizontal dots at the bottom of the screen, and choosing the voicemail option. Now you can get rid of that answering machine with the little cassette thingies, and come right into the 21st century.

You Will Be Telling Messenger All Your Secrets

It’s emerged, in the wake of WhatsApp’s decision to turn on end-to-end encryption, that Facebook is considering giving Messenger Disappearing Messages. It isn’t there yet, but several sites have reported the development, as well as the Twitter account iOSAppChanges.
So if you know that your most intimate secrets are going to go up in a puff of smoke in a few minutes, then you will be telling your phone everything. Hell, you might even get your clothes off and start sextingSnapchat-style. After all, everything is deleted from the Internet eventually, right?

You Will Be Ordering Your Transport From Messenger

Facebook recently announced that you can now order lifts from Uber, directly from Messenger (with support for Lyft rolling out soon). And what makes it sweet is that anyone who uses Uber via Messenger will get a $20 Uber credit.
So if you are chatting with a hot prospect, and you decide to go out for a candlelit dinner someplace, you can go to the three dot menu again, choose “Transportation”, and then request your ride. Your chatting partner will see in the Messenger window that the ride has indeed been ordered, as well as receive updates on the driver’s progress.
Now you don’t have to go to your date in a bus smelling of pee.

You Will Be Ordering Flowers From Messenger

At the Facebook conference in San Francisco a few weeks back, Zuck announced that soon you will be able to use Messenger to order flowers from 1-800 Flowers. Then his comedian side popped out.
“I find it pretty ironic, because now to order from 1-800 Flowers, you never have to call 1-800 Flowers again” — Mark Zuckerberg
I’m guessing it won’t be long before other stores like this jump on the bandwagon. Think about it.
You could order stuff on Amazon, buy your groceries from Walmart…you would just need to tell the upcoming Messenger Siri-like Assistant, M, that you need more toilet paper, and it will send your order through. No more standing in the checkout line with smelly humans!

You Will Be Sending Money With Messenger

This is not yet available outside the US (surprise, surprise. But hey, as long as we can poke someone, right?). But if you live in the US, are at least 18 years old, have a Visa or Mastercard debit card (all you American Express card people can get lost!), and your preferred currency is US dollars (none of that nasty European Euro stuff!), then you are in the door, buddy.
Just tap the money icon, add your debit card number and the amount and send. The other person adds their debit card number and accepts. Three days later, many green US dollars appear in the bank.
Could we see the day when people are paid their salaries via Messenger?

You Will Be Playing Games On Messenger

At the moment, you can challenge your Facebook contacts to a game of chess. Type “@fbchess play” into the contact window and a board will appear. Then every time you want to make a move, you’ll need to type “@fbchess” followed by the letter for the piece, and the code for the square you want the piece to go to. So for example, moving the King to square C5 would mean you type “@fbchess Kc5”.
But what if chess is too highbrow for you and you want something simpler? How about Basketball? Just send your contact a basketball emoji for the game to appear.
I’m sure Nintendo and Playstation are not sweating over small stuff like this but it would be good to see more basic games make their way onto Messenger in the future.

You Will Be Boarding Planes With Messenger

The Dutch have always been cool with their clogs and their windmills (“Ground Control to Stereotype Central!”), but now the Dutch airline KLM is getting into the Facebook Messenger game. When booking a KLM flight, you can now opt to have your boarding pass sent directly to your Messenger app, as well as booking confirmations and flight updates. This opens up a separate KLM chat window on Messenger, where all of your updates and passes are kept together in one place.

This isn’t new — Apple’s iOS Wallet has had digital boarding passes for some time. But the Messenger integration is the first time you can get digital boarding passes in a chat-based interface. And as well as receive information from KLM in the chat window, you can send messages right back and KLM customer support will respond.
There is absolutely no way that KLM will be the only airline doing this. Pretty soon, every airline worth its airmiles is going to be “flying all over this” (see what I did there?).

You Will Be Sharing Your Files With Messenger

Don’t get excited. We’re not talking illegal torrents here, although with the Internet being what it is, I’m sure it won’t be long before someone works out how to make torrents work. No, you can send individual files and pictures using the relevant icons in the chat window. But now there is also support for Dropbox and Imgur as well.
Just click the three-dot menu at the bottom, choose Dropbox or Imgur, and connect your accounts. Then when you are wanting to send something, choose either Dropbox or Imgur from that same menu, and choose the files you want to send to your contact.
I can pretty much say with certainty that it definitely won’t be long before we see support for Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, and maybe Flickr. They’ll definitely not want to be left out of the party.

You Will Be Networking With Messenger

If you meet someone at a work conference, or you pass them by in a hallway, you might not have time to grab their Messenger details. Then you spend ages in Facebook wondering “is THIS their account?”. Because not everybody has a photo on their Facebook account, and some people prefer to have a picture of their kids or their dog instead. Which makes it kind of hard to know if you are connecting with Bob from accounting, or the uncaught serial killer in your neighbourhood who suggests a nice Chianti and some Fava beans.
So trust Facebook to make it easier for you. When you tap on your name in Messenger, you will now see this.
All that blue squiggly stuff is a QR code. If you tap on it, you can either have your code for the other person to scan with their phone, or you can get the app to scan the other person’s code. You will then be automatically added to one another’s contact lists.
Of course that’s no guarantee that Bob from accounting isn’t a serial killer though.

You Will Be Making Work Conference Calls With Messenger

Group video calling is not here yet (although you can bet the bank it is imminent), but group phone calling is here. Now you can get all of your work colleagues on the same line and shoot the breeze about the latest sales figures, or how Bob from accounting is acting really strangely.
The upper limit is 50 participants, so this is good for small offices, or if a small group is planning the next office night out. Just tap the phone icon, choose who should be on the call, and everyone will be called up and connected.

The Future’s Bright. The Future’s Messenger

As I said at the beginning, it might feel a bit intimidating seeing so many features cram-packed into one app. But Messenger is positioning itself to take over many functions in our lives, whether it is phoning someone, making plans to travel somewhere, or sending someone a file.
What functions you would ideally like Messenger to have? Let us know in the comments.
And if your name is Bob and you are an accountant, please feel free to vent at me in the comments for calling you a serial killer. I can take it. Just don’t come and visit me.
Image Credits: Work Conference Call – Shutterstock, Business Networking – Shutterstock, Other Attribution-Free Images Courtesy of PixaBayFacebook Messenger Emoticons – Google Play, Screenshot from Airplane – The Movie (And Don’t Call Me Shirley) Source: www.makeuseof.com

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