The capabilities of Facebook Messenger continue to grow, as the company announced Thursday that it is rolling out a caller ID feature for the app. The new feature is aimed at helping Messenger users know more about who is trying to connect with them.
Vice President of Messaging Products David Marcus announced the new feature in an update on his Facebook page. "Now you'll have context about the people contacting you on Messenger with a bigger photo and more details about how you're related, and much more," he said.
The caller ID feature adds details about people from their public information on Facebook. In addition to a profile photo, for instance, it might also display information about where someone lives as well as the individual's occupation. The feature is currently available on Android and iOS devices for users in the U.S., the U.K., France and India.
Benefits for Business Users
Facebook has been rolling out a slew of new Messenger features this year, as well as other communication apps. Last month, for example, it launched an Android app called "Hello" that shows a user a caller's Facebook profile information when the phone starts ringing. Shortly after that, it also introduced video calling for Messenger, which enables Android and iOS users to launch video chats with one tap from any previous Messenger conversation.
Messenger also made its debut as a standalone app -- Messenger.com -- in April, moving it beyond its previous home on Facebook's pages. The company said the standalone version makes it easier for users to focus exclusively on their communication with others and reduce potential distractions from other Facebook features such as the News Feed.
Such enhancements are clearly appealing to Facebook's business users, in particular, as distraction-free messaging and caller ID can help boost productivity. In fact, the company announced in March that it would be rolling out a Messenger service specifically for businesses.
'Family of Apps'
Currently available only for "select" businesses that Facebook partnered with for the launch, Messenger for Business is designed as a one-stop communication destination for companies that want to better engage with their customers. Once the service goes live, it will enable businesses to send information and updates in real time to customers throughout the browsing, buying, shipping and delivery processes.
Two retailers -- Everlane and Zulily -- are currently using Messenger for Business, and Facebook is working with Zendesk to provide live chat through the service. The Messenger for Business Web site now features a sign-up form for other companies that are interested in joining the service once it launches more widely.
All the recent enhancements that Facebook has made to Messenger and other communication apps reflect the company's new goal, described at its F8 developers' conference in March, to become a "family of apps" rather than a single app. Speaking at the conference, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook wants to unleash a "new wave of expression" for users around the world.
Posted: 2015-05-31 @ 8:03am PT
Great! I am so happy that Facebook is expanding the revenue stream even more. Congrats to all Facebook stock holders!
Posted: 2015-05-28 @ 6:15am PT
I don't understand any of this. Doesn't Facebook frown on making friends with people who you don't know in the real world?So when they say, "Now you'll have context about the people contacting you on Messenger with a bigger photo and more details about how you're related, and much more," I don't get it. Is Facebook telling me that they know more about the people in my circle than I do?