Facebook: you either love it or hate it. We all know someone who is adamant about avoiding the social networking giant, for a variety of different reasons. Maybe they think it's a time waster, or they're worried about their personal data being out there for the world to see.
However with over a billion members, there's no denying the majority of the US population are Facebook users. Additionally, if you haven't already noticed, Facebook is integrated in to so many apps and websites. It speeds the sign-up process in most cases by linking your profile up, as well as allowing you to share content with your Facebook friends with one click.
Facebook's latest announcement is shaking things up a bit by redesigning its mobile app, Facebook Messenger, and going after these Facebook-shy people by making the app available to anyone with a mobile phone. All you need is a phone number and a name, no Facebook account or email required. This is also a great way to target users who only go online via mobile device.
Starting Small Is Starting Big
The new Facebook Messenger app will roll out slowly, in India, Australia, Indonesia, Argentina, South Africa, and Venezuela, initially just for the Android platform. Starting in these locations is big for Facebook as there is potential to significantly increase users. Because email is not required, starting in these industrializing nations could add up to a large number of new users. Millions of people living in places such as this don't have access to internet whatsoever, and rely solely on their mobile device.
Users won't have to worry if they don't have a smartphone, either. A year and a half ago, Facebook launched the Facebook for Every Phone app that allows users with a basic and inexpensive feature phone access to the social media site. Facebook estimates about 750 million people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America use Facebook for Every Phone this year alone.
But of course. Offering the Messenger app and making the service available to those who weren't able to before is just a way of reaching out to those resisting the Facebook craze. The company hopes people using the service will eventually break down and create a Facebook account.
Another way to look at Facebook's latest update: a threat to SMS messaging. The world has enjoyed the text message for 20 years, but their use is on a downward slope. Just last month, an independent analyst found that the use of the text message went down in the US in the third quarter this year. With all of the messenger apps like WhatsApp and Kik, as well as the use of Facebook to message friends, who needs SMS?
All Things Mobile'
Facebook is wise to focus on mobile, adapting easily in the mobile world we live in today. Since last year, the company's monthly mobile users rose to 604 million, a 61 percent increase. What's more, 126 million of those mobile users sign on exclusively on their mobile device. Choosing to offer their messenger service to those without a Facebook account is the perfect way to draw in those people hesitant to sign up, and giving competitor services like WhatsApp, with a record 10 billion messages sent in one day, a run for their money.