Facebook Inc. announced on Friday that 800 million monthly active users (MAUs) use the Facebook Messenger app every month, roughly 11% of the world’s population.
Facebook head of messaging products Dave Marcus said in an online post said, “The Messenger team’s mission is to make Messenger the best place to communicate with all the people and businesses in the world.
“I’m happy to report that we’ve made a good step in that direction, and toward the end of 2015, we crossed the milestone of 800 million people using Messenger every month.
“It’s still very, very early days, but the growing AI capabilities are bringing unparalleled convenience to simple, everyday tasks like booking a restaurant, sending flowers, and making plans. There will be more innovative developments to come from Messenger this year,” Marcus added.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook has given an unknown number of developers access to a new chat SDK that will allow them to construct “bots” within Facebook Messenger. Said artificial entities could chat with users directly, and send them just about anything you could otherwise receive on Messenger: Images, maps, and prices. With the latter, a Facebook user could even make purchases by talking to one of these bots on Messenger, thanks to the app’s fairly new payment-sending system.
It’s expected that these bots will function similarly to the new transportation options within Messenger, which give you a more fluid conversation with an Uber bot and additional elements you can interact with by tapping on your screen—like setting your destination, picking what kind of Uber you want, and viewing a map.
Facebook has also begun testing a digital assistant, called M, that operates through Messenger and can make restaurant reservations and airline bookings and other tasks. The service is available to only 10,000 people in the San Francisco Bay area, but Marcus said Facebook hopes to offer it to more users later this year.