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Will Messenger Become The New Facebook?

June 17, 2016, 12:20 PM UTC
Inside The F8 Facebook Developers Conference
David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook Inc., speaks during the Facebook F8 Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. Facebook Inc. is opening up its Messenger chat application, letting developers create software for people to add photos, videos and other enhancements to their online conversations. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
David Paul Morris—Bloomberg via Getty Images

This essay originally appeared in Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter. Sign up here.

I must confess a habit of mine with you, Data Sheet readers. Every day, while I tap away on my laptop in Fortune’s San Francisco bureau, one tab in my browser remains constantly open:

It’s not to see the new photos or funny jokes my friends publish to my News Feed, though I admit that I sometimes glance for that reason. It’s to leave it on in the background on the off-chance that I receive a chat message from someone I know.

Facebook has long been characterized as a place to store and share photos. (The “poke” is pretty much dead, people.) But one of its other killer functions is messaging, and Facebook knows it.

On Thursday the social network redesigned its Messenger mobile app, adding new features like birthday reminders and a section for favorite contacts, among others. But its addition of a “Home” tab speaks volumes about how important the chat function has become to the Facebook ecosystem.

For more on Facebook Messenger, watch:

Facebook first released the standalone Messenger app in August 2011. Almost three years later the company shut down the chat functionality within its namesake app and forced all of its mobile users to download Messenger instead. It was a not-so-subtle hint. Today, Facebook doesn’t even want you to use your smartphone’s most basic function—voice calls—instead baking the capability right into Messenger.

Expect to see more moves like this. The messaging app is the technology industry’s latest great hope—a millennial-seducing powerhouse of potential that, for Facebook anyway, could one day grab more of your attention than its flagship social media service. (You can thank Snapchat for that.) For those keeping score at home, today’s Messenger app now has more than 900 million monthly active users and features that include video calling, group chat, peer-to-peer payments, chat bots, and myriad other bells and whistles.

It’s only a matter of time before my friends’ updates and shared news articles show up in Messenger, too, sprinkled between relevant conversations. And maybe—just maybe!—I’ll never have to keep a browser tab open for Facebook’s classic News Feed ever again.

Have a great weekend.