The company has always wanted to own a good chunk of your phone, but today, it’s finally making a play to take over phones by going after the one already in your pocket. This time, it might just work.
With the Messenger platform, which was announced today, Facebook is deeply integrating apps into its chat service to add extra functions so you can do things like send GIFs from Giphy or order a cab. The company sees Messenger becoming the core of your everyday experience on your phone.
To do this, Facebook requires app developers to build deep integrations with it and release dedicated apps that are downloaded via the Messenger platform.
You’ll see little ‘install’ buttons for apps your friends use and Facebook suggests apps you might like to try. When you click these, you’ll be taken to the App Store to download the app.
Each app that’s integrated with the service has a little Messenger icon on the lower right and is required to have a number of things, like a “send to Messenger” button inside it. This is Facebook’s trojan horse that it wants to take over your phone.
Take the golden child of today’s announcements, Giphy, for example. The company has never made an iOS app available before today, but it’s one of the first Messenger platform partners. The app lets you search for GIFs on the service and share them with friends, but only via Messenger.
Soon, instead of having a bunch of apps that do various things, you’re going to have sets of apps that are dedicated to Messenger and those that aren’t. I’m imagining I’ll have whole folders dedicated to just Facebook apps at this rate.
Facebook wants to take over your phone by deeply integrating as many apps as it can with its service and requiring them to show the Messenger icon and branding is a powerful way to make you live in Messenger all day long.
The phone you already own may just become a Facebook phone, after all.