Facebook officially unveils Messenger as a platform with new API

Facebook officially unveils Messenger as a platform with new API

Today at Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference, the company announced that it will make Messenger’s API available to third party developers.

Facebook has been quietly working with select partners to offer an array of available Messenger-integrated apps at launch. Now, instead of manually selecting to share content, then choosing Messenger from the list of apps, a one-button approach should streamline the process.

“We’ve been building Messenger as a way to express ourselves in more than just text,” Mark Zuckerberg said during the opening keynote.

Most of the launch partners for Messenger Platform are focused on content creation, GIFs and emoji (naturally). These include Giphy, Imgur, Bitmoji and JibJab.

One example, Ditty, is a custom music video app that lets you choose from a selection of popular songs and insert your own lyrics. The app then figures out how to incorporate your message into the tune and creates a lyric video, which you can then share with your Facebook friends via Messenger.

You can see the example below with our custom lyric to the tune of Capital Cities’s “Safe And Sound.”

Here’s the full list of available Messenger apps at launch – users can also install these apps if they received a message from these showcased apps, prompting them to install it on their own device.

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 4.09.10 PM

Messenger separated from the Facebook mobile app as part of an unbundling move last year. Just a few months after the split, Facebook reported that more than 500 million people were using Messenger monthly. Today, that number has risen to 600 million, Zuckerberg confirmed.

In opening its API, Messenger is following the footsteps of Asia-based messenger apps like as Line and WeChat, which are used as platforms for business, commerce, gaming and more.

With Facebook’s recent introduction of a mobile money transfer feature, it’ll be interesting to see if allowing third-party integrations will make Messenger too bloated, or better unbundled from the core Facebook app.

The new Messenger update is expected to roll out today for both iOS and Android.

Read next: Facebook will soon start supporting 'spherical' videos in the News Feed and Oculus

Shh. Here's some distraction

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