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article imageFacebook plans to allow third-party apps onto Messenger

By James Walker     Mar 20, 2015 in Technology
Facebook is planning to open up the Facebook Messenger app to third-party apps and services that will run on top of the service, continuing the large-scale expansion of Messenger that the company has started in the past year.
Mashable says that details are expected to be revealed during Facebook's F8 Developer Conference in San Francisco next week. The company declined a request for comment.
Facebook Messenger was launched as a standalone app in 2011 to make it easier for consumers to have conversations over Facebook. It offers a clean, simple interface more suited to messaging than the standard Facebook app.
From last summer, the company actually removed support for messaging from its main app, forcing users to download Messenger instead. The move angered many but has allowed Facebook to steadily expand Messenger's list of features, adding the ability to make mobile payments from within the app only recently.
Now Messenger is expected to be opened to third-party developers. Twenty services are believed to be supported when the update rolls out according to a person "familiar with the matter" but it is unknown which services these are.
It is believed that Facebook will provide guidance to developers at F8 that will detail how they can build apps that work on top of Messenger with seamless integration with the core app. No images of the integration have been seen.
The move will make Facebook its own platform instead of the subset of the Facebook API that it currently is. This will be something new for Facebook and their reason for doing it is not yet known.
Messaging apps in Asia that allow third-party apps and services to use their platforms have found great success in China however with products like WeChat and Line notable examples. Facebook could be trying to compete with these services to gain more of a market share in Asia. We should know more at F8 in San Francisco next week.
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