How many messaging apps do you currently have on your phone? Do you feel it is becoming too cumbersome maintaining all those? Don’t you wish messaging integration would be a thing? It would surely solve everything, don’t you think?
During the advent of social messengers, people have been crazy on the platforms they prefer. Some use WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, etc. Then, social media platforms now allowed users to send private messages to each other. Facebook has one stand-alone in Messenger, while Instagram and Twitter have integrated messaging in their respective applications.
Given a plethora of choices, many people shift from one app to another to communicate to different people for different purposes. Facebook Messenger seems to be the easiest pick since you can now send messages even to people you are not friends with. Other choose Viber to share photos because, as they say, it doesn’t deteriorate the quality and resolution of the photos. And many other reasons for each app.
But as we said, it can be cumbersome to maintain all apps at once. Not only does it eat up storage or memory on your phone, it can draw in confusion when you have to contact people all at once.
Messaging integration seems to be the answer to this. And, luckily, Facebook CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg has thought about doing this.
The Concept of Interoperability
Facebook Found and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announce a messaging integration plan for three (3) messaging functions under their umbrella of companies: Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instragram. He introduces the concept of “interoperability” wherein users can send messages between apps even if the sender and/or receive don’t use the same application. To put it simply, you can send a message from Messenger to someone at WhatsApp.
This plan sounds all too fancy, and it should. Because Facebook has a lot of work stretched out for them for this plan to be properly implemented.
On the technical side of things, Facebook said that they need to create a better and stronger messaging infrastructure in order for apps to be able to “talk to each other”. The applications – Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram – will be kept independent or separate from each other; not one app that combines everything.
Zuckerberg also mentioned that more than the three apps, they’re looking forward to eventually make this compatible with SMS messaging and not just limit to social media messaging.
But the biggest challenge for the social media giant is protecting the privacy of their users. After Facebook’s security breach and when it was known to the public that our data was being sold to Cambridge Analytica, people are having trust issues with the social networking platform.
According to Zuckerberg, they are addressing this by making sure that this move is focused on privacy. They are aiming to add a strict end-to-end encryption within the three messaging applications. To add, they’re aiming to have a more “private communication” experience. That being said, Zuckerberg assures that they will find a way for apps to “refuse to store data”.
But let’s break this move down for everyone. Is this really for the convenience of the users? Or is this another ploy to sell our data out?
Messaging Integration Pros: A Business Move
Convenience. This is what Mark Zuckerberg wants to purvey to the users. This move, as he said, will be more convenient for users to communicate with each other.
True. If you look at it, it would be easier for people to communicate between different platforms. Not everyone has the access to all messaging apps, so having this messaging integration is more than convenient.
However, social media analysts and even news agencies are wary of this move. To them, it’s more of a business move.
Chatbots for Marketing and Customer Support
The birth of chatbots make it easier for businesses to reach their audience. What initially was for customer support has now become an overall communication portal for businesses. Chatbots may be one of the reasons why Facebook is moving for an integration.
Integrating the messaging functions of the three applications allow businesses who sell their products in Instagram or Facebook reach other users via WhatsApp or Messenger. It makes it easier for customers to send inquiries to product brand accounts. At the same time, brands can easily advertise to their target audience.
User’s Messenger Loyalty
Another angle we could look into is how this move is tapping into the loyal users of Messenger. It’s no question that most people are now communicating through Messenger. But how can Facebook, who now also owns both WhatsApp and Instagram, bring more users to use those two? Yep, integration.
The integration would draw Facebook Messengers loyal users to both apps – or at least, in virtual unison of the integration. It now does not create an eternal divide among users of the three apps, but unite them in a way.
Now that messaging apps are more accessible, this might be the new e-mail.
As brands and companies shift to mobile messaging, e-mails might just be a thing of the past. Or maybe, just for totally formal communications. But for casual and mass communication systems? This integration could be the next big thing.
Whether you want to send out emails to the entire staff or an email blast to your customers, it can now be done through mobile messaging apps. Yes, just like how we send messages through group chats.
Competition Among Messaging
The integration of Messenger, Instagram Direct Message, and WhatsApp can also create a bit of competition among messaging.
For one, this messaging integration can be a step towards competing against WeChat. The most used messaging app in Chine has everything integrated in it. It’s not just messaging; it can do more. From payment system, to booking appointments… or even more.
The integration might just be a step towards that. If this works well, we might see any of these three apps competing against WeChat.
But the most obvious competition for now is against default mobile messaging systems. WhatsApp is connected to one’s phone number, right? Hence, it is the best alternative for SMS. If they integrate with Messenger and even Instagram, SMS messaging will go way beyond your usual texts. More so, this becomes a threat that people might no longer need their phone’s default messaging application.
Should We Be Wary?
We’ve been discussing how this messaging integration can help businesses reach out to their customers more than how users can maximize this feature. Should we be way or worried about this?
Let our memories not be short term. Remember, Facebook used and are still using our data for marketing purposes. Despite Zuckerberg’s promise of a more encrypted and private conversation, we don’t know if we should take his word for it; the very person who is responsible of the data breach.
We should still be careful on the information we share through these three application. The more they are integrated, the more data they can get from us. They have more control with our data more than ever.
Since they can now track our every activity even on the most private sense, this would make it easier for companies to target us towards their product.
We can applaud Facebook with this new innovation all we want, but we can’t deny that there is a downside. So here’s what we got to say:
This feature is said to roll out next year. We have more time to familiarize and be keen with the threats that this new innovation could pose on us. Also, get to know more ways on how to avoid being a victim of data breach once this rolls out. It might be too soon to call it out, but we can never be too sure and too complacent.
When it’s out there, let’s be ready on what security measures we could do to disallow the apps to control our data as much as possible. And if another breach happens, let’s let Zuckerberg and Facebook be held accountable for it.