Distracted students everywhere have yet another method of procrastination as Facebook launched its latest service last week.
Facebook has launched the “Facebook Messenger” app in the US, set to rival Apple I-Phone’s Facetime and the colossal force that is the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) .
The launch represents a big challenge to the existing services: the app can be used on both I-Phones and Android phones, so consumers will have a greater choice open to them when choosing a new handset. This may well break the monopoly that Apple and Blackberry currently hold over the smartphone market.
Facebook is recorded as having 750 million users globally whilst just over 45 million people use the BBM service. Therefore, even if only ten per cent of Facebookers made use of the new service, the 75 million users would already be greater than BBM’s 45 million.
The app is as yet only available in America, but if it proves successful, will soon be launched in the UK. Facebook Messenger allows Facebookers to send instant messages to Facebook friends for free via their mobiles, as well as enabling messages to be sent to friends on mobile contact lists. Messages can be sent to individuals and groups alike. This is the next logical step from receiving SMS alerts of new Facebook notifications.
It could even be seen as an improved version of the current Facebook Chat service. However, that is not necessarily a good thing as in its early days the chat service was prone to crashing, making for many frustrated Facebookers. The key difference is that Facebook Messenger is far more instantaneous- it will go straight to the other person’s mobile and they will be alerted at that time. Facebook’s technical engineer Lucy Zhang wrote: “you should be able to write a message, click ‘send’ and know that you will reach the person right away”, highlighting the rapid nature of the service.