Facebook debuted a Discover tab in Messenger as well as a new integration with Spotify.

By Leena Rao
April 18, 2017

Facebook debuted a number of updates to its popular Messenger including the ability to listen to streaming music within the app while chatting.

Messenger users will be able to integrate services from other apps like Spotify and Apple Music, Facebook’s Messenger chief David Marcus said at the company’s annual developers conference in San Jose, Calif. on Tuesday.

The move is part of the social network’s long-term strategy to let the app’s 1.2 billion users do more within the service so they never need to leave it to shop, check airline reservations, or book restaurant reservations. The goal is for Messenger to be the centralized place for daily activities.

The so-called chat extensions will be a new way for developers and businesses to let users access their apps. Spotify was among the first companies to build an extension, Marcus said.

While staying within Messenger, Spotify’s users will be able to share music and listen to songs without having to switch to Spotify’s app. Apple’s music streaming service Apple Music “APPL” will also soon add a similar integration, Marcus added.

At last year’s developer conference, Facebook started allowing outside companies to build small software programs, or chatbots, that automatically interact with Messenger users. Users can ask the bots to perform tasks such as ordering food and process their payments.

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On Tuesday, Marcus said that outside developers had created 100,000 bots for Messenger, of which nearly 70,000 were made in the past eight months. He added that more than two billion messages are sent monthly between people and businesses, more than double last year.

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The next step for Messenger is to be able to “become the Yellow Pages of messaging,” Marcus explained. As part of that push, Facebook introduced a new Discover tab, a new home page in the messaging app that surfaces the best bots and businesses in a user’s region along with bots that are in line with users’ individual interests.

 

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