Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) acquired Beluga in March of 2011 in a technology and talent deal that the team of three ex-Googlers couldn’t say no to at the time that they were looking for angel investors. Beluga became Messenger unless you were an iPad user who simply got the iPhone app.
Facebook Messenger’s features
Now, that has all changed. The new Messenger for iPad features a multi-window interface that shows a list of threads and your current conversation in separate windows. With iPad users coming on board, it’s expected that Messenger will quickly add to its over 200 million users pretty quickly when iPad users see how great it looks.
Group chats are not a problem, stickers are available, and VoIP calling is also available. While the newest additions to Messenger, both the split-screen selfie camera and the quick video recording options are missing. Facebook hopes to offer those in the near future, but failed to mention if they have any plans to make a specific Messenger app for Android tablets anytime soon.
For users who install both the Facebook app and Messenger on the same tablet, you need only tap the message icon and you will be switched to the new Messenger. A single tap on the top of Messenger will then return you to the Facebook app.
Facebook hourly use is down given the popularity of free SMS platforms out there and SMS is now a huge part of social media as a whole. Why else would Facebook slap down $19 billion for WhatsApp. It recognizes that people want to send quick direct messages without having to navigate around an app with a News Feed. Another way of looking at it is that WhatsApp offered status updates and was taking traffic from Facebook.
Monetizing Facebook Messenger
While Messenger doesn’t as of yet make money, they just snagged PayPal president David Marcus to become VP of its Messaging Products to change this. When Marcus was hired, Facebook quickly pointed out that he has “a track record of building great products and finding creative ways to turn them into great businesses.”
It’s also quite possible that Marcus was hired to offer money transfers through Messenger. While Wal-Mart dropped MoneyGram to run it’s own WalMart2Walmart transfers, Facebook would certainly have a bigger reach if it can somehow find a way for this to work. Though it’s hard to see why iPad owners, who are generally affluent, would need people to send them cash, but who knows.