Facebook announces new business communication tools that rival iMessage

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Facebook has announced a number of new Messenger-focused developer updates that could help the service compete with features available on Apple's iMessage platform.

Credit: Facebook
Credit: Facebook


At its F8 Refresh developer conference on Wednesday, Facebook announced new APIs for WhatsApp and Instagram, as well as a Login Connect with Messenger feature, among other updates. Some of the new features compete with existing Apple products.

The WhatsApp Business API, for example, will allow customers to receive information from businesses on the messaging platform. Additionally, businesses will be able to get set up quicker on the service with a significantly reduced onboarding time.

With new List and Reply message options, users will be able to quickly make selections from a menu of different response options.

Alongside the WhatsApp Business API, Facebook also announced that all businesses will now have access to its Messenger API for Instagram. The API is meant to consolidate and automate communications for businesses.

The Instagram API will let companies use the tools they already have in place across Facebook's platforms, allowing for a streamlined and improved experience for customers. Previously, Facebook only had similar systems on WhatsApp and Messenger.

In addition, Facebook is making it easier for customers to opt in to messaging with businesses directly. A new Login Connect with Messenger feature allows users to choose to connect with businesses directly from the Facebook Login page.

In its own testing, Facebook says that about 70% of participants with access to Login Connection opted in to messaging with businesses. Facebook says it'll allow for deeper consumer engagement with businesses, as well as more personalized customer service.

Apple launched its own enterprise-focused system for businesses in iOS 11. The Business Chat service is built on top of iMessage and allows consumers to connect with companies through a familiar interface.

Alongside the new business communication tools, Facebook also announced new augmented reality features for users, including an API that will allow developers to create AR effects for multiple users simultaneously.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    Please, Apple, PLEASE make iMessage cross platform so my European friends don’t nag me to join WhatsApp. It’s become the de facto messaging system and Apple is only hurting its own business by isolating its platform.
    A friend of mine is a university professor in Europe and told me last year when one of his students noticed he was using an iPhone he came up to him utterly puzzled and asked him why on Earth he would be using an iPhone. All his students and all but 2 of the faculty, including him, are android users. And they all use whatsapp and FB Messenger.
    Why allow Facebook to monopolize this market?
    qwerty52Alex_Vrobabawatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 15
    I'm still struggling to understand the lack of S/MIME email 'for the rest of us' across the board... ???
  • Reply 3 of 15
    I'm still struggling to understand the lack of S/MIME email 'for the rest of us' across the board... ???
    Sadly, I think email's days are numbered. It's a widely-available standardised system, which is a big benefit, but it was designed with the assumption that any abuse of the system would be limited and thus easily controlled. It's a security nightmare that is largely unrecognised as such by users, and there are more secure systems available that preserve privacy and secrecy at a minimal cost to user experience and monetary resources. The really big cost of these systems is that they're proprietary and non-interoperable, but so far people have been willing to put up with that given that every player in the space has a huge number of users so for any given person in your s
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 15
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,510moderator
    Please, Apple, PLEASE make iMessage cross platform so my European friends don’t nag me to join WhatsApp. It’s become the de facto messaging system and Apple is only hurting its own business by isolating its platform.
    A friend of mine is a university professor in Europe and told me last year when one of his students noticed he was using an iPhone he came up to him utterly puzzled and asked him why on Earth he would be using an iPhone. All his students and all but 2 of the faculty, including him, are android users. And they all use whatsapp and FB Messenger.
    Why allow Facebook to monopolize this market?
    Apple can make it cross-platform with an API, they wouldn't need to make a client for Android. With a client, they'd just have to process tens of billions of messages for Android users to each other at great expense when they'd have no intention of buying any Apple products.  Everybody knows how Facebook monetizes people, that's not the business Apple is in.

    These anecdotes of people using Android are meaningless. Apple's not exactly short on users, they sell over 200 million iPhones every year, they have an active userbase of over 1 billion people (1/7th of the planet and 1/3 of the developed planet) and they process billions of iMessages every day for the customers who pay them.

    If people think Messages is so much better than what they have, they can buy an iPhone any time they want. WhatsApp exists on iPhone too and people can send between Messages and whatever junk Android users have. If there's an isolated messaging platform, it's WhatsApp because it can only send to WhatsApp, Messages can send to any app with SMS.

    Android users can use Google Messages instead of WhatsApp:

    https://messages.google.com

    I don't get why there's a demand for people to use the same messaging client. Email is universal messaging, has all the features and it gets sent everywhere to dozens of different clients - Outlook, Apple Mail, GMail, Thunderbird. Messaging is just faster email with the messages on one page. All that's needed is to let Messages talk to WhatsApp and vice versa. It's all over the data connection, one of them just needs an API. Apple can then send things like memoji to WhatsApp users and that would be much more compelling for switching platform because they'd see what they were missing out on. If they get all the features on Android, they have no reason to switch.
    fastasleepRayz2016tmayAlex_Vroundaboutnowjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 15
    danoxdanox Posts: 561member
    Keep it the same Apple, let Android be what it is Windows on a phone…..
    Alex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 15
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,400member
    For all the people calling on Apple to port iMessages to Android, I have one question. A sincere question. Would you be happy or upset if Apple did port the program but then charged users a small fee (either per message or $20/year for the Android app) or required users to have an Apple One subscription in order to use the iMessage services?

    Basically, what I'm asking you is whether you expect free services from Apple or are you willing to pay for those services? I'm just asking a fair question, I'm not trying to insult anyone here.
    Alex_V
  • Reply 7 of 15
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 832member
    Sure...

    Facebook messaging that rivdd as is iMessage...

    just minus trust and privacy. 

    It’s not iMessages feature set that makes it amazing. It’s that it’s simple and secure. 

    Facebook just sucks. They do sloppy work, their “features” are meh. Their stuff is cluttered, and they spy on everything and sell the info to everyone who has the coin to buy it. 

    Yuck. 
    Alex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 15
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,827member
    For all the people calling on Apple to port iMessages to Android, I have one question. A sincere question. Would you be happy or upset if Apple did port the program but then charged users a small fee (either per message or $20/year for the Android app) or required users to have an Apple One subscription in order to use the iMessage services?

    Basically, what I'm asking you is whether you expect free services from Apple or are you willing to pay for those services? I'm just asking a fair question, I'm not trying to insult anyone here.
    I’d be interested to know too, though I suspect the answer starts with: “Apple is sitting on a mountain of cash, so I don’t see why they can’t …”
    edited June 3 williamlondonAlex_Vjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 15
    For all the people calling on Apple to port iMessages to Android, I have one question. A sincere question. Would you be happy or upset if Apple did port the program but then charged users a small fee (either per message or $20/year for the Android app) or required users to have an Apple One subscription in order to use the iMessage services?

    Basically, what I'm asking you is whether you expect free services from Apple or are you willing to pay for those services? I'm just asking a fair question, I'm not trying to insult anyone here.
    I don't think you thought through things before asking the silly/rhetorical question. Whom are you targetting this question at? Android phone users (like myself, Avon B7 etc) OR iPhone users who have friends using Android phones?

    From Android phone users perspective, we don't even care whether/if iMessages is available in Google Play Store. Even if Apple made it available either free or for a cost, we (most of us, I cannot speak for all in any case) are NOT going to use it by any stretch of imagination. We already have our own choices - whatsapp, signal, telegram etc. And we are not going to bother moving from current messaging service (Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram/whatever that is being used) to another service just because it is provided by Apple.

    Coming to iOS users (who have friends with Android phones) who are asking for this feature to be made available in Android - are you expecting them to pay a Monthly/Annual fee for iMessages in their friend's Android phones on behalf their friends? Why would they?

    You have to understand and remember this point - Almost all of the people who are asking for iMessages to be made available in Android are actually iOS users, NOT Android users. If you conducted a poll among Android users whether they want Apple to make iMessages available for Android - less than 0.1% of the users might say Yes. More than 99% of the Android users would ask the question - "What is iMessages and why should/would I bother with it? I don't care whether iMessage is available in Google Play store or not". It is the iOS users who want to have the "convenience" of using a single messaging platform (iMessages) to connect with their friends (including the ones using Android phones), not the other way around.
    edited June 3
  • Reply 10 of 15
    kimberlykimberly Posts: 366member
    Sure...

    Facebook messaging that rivdd as is iMessage...

    just minus trust and privacy. 

    It’s not iMessages feature set that makes it amazing. It’s that it’s simple and secure. 

    Facebook just sucks. They do sloppy work, their “features” are meh. Their stuff is cluttered, and they spy on everything and sell the info to everyone who has the coin to buy it. 

    Yuck. 
    Yep, that pretty well sums it up. Immoral business model instantiated with appalling programming.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 15
    Please, Apple, PLEASE make iMessage cross platform so my European friends don’t nag me to join WhatsApp. It’s become the de facto messaging system and Apple is only hurting its own business by isolating its platform.
    A friend of mine is a university professor in Europe and told me last year when one of his students noticed he was using an iPhone he came up to him utterly puzzled and asked him why on Earth he would be using an iPhone. All his students and all but 2 of the faculty, including him, are android users. And they all use whatsapp and FB Messenger.
    Why allow Facebook to monopolize this market?
    Lovely post. Even Google recognizes that 'Apple is eating their lunch ' when it comes to privacy. IMHO, you should just tell your professor friend that if he cares one little about privacy then using bog-standard Android with FB and WhatsApp is not the way to go.
    I took the stance years ago that anyone who wanted me to sign up to FB etc in order to keep in touch then they were not the sort of people I wanted to know long term. A few understood my reasoning and we remain friends but without anti-social media.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 15
    Alex_VAlex_V Posts: 33member
    This is my, purely anecdotal, experience living in a country where iPhone has a tiny market share. I have to remind my friends that they have Messages app, that it’s better and more fun. Elegant and easy to use. And Tapback keeps the conversation flowing. Same thing with FaceTime. I’m always encouraging my friends with iPhones to use it. Better technology, better sound, calls don’t drop etc. Not to mention the sound quality from built-in speakers and mics. Whenever there is a Zoom call and someone sounds crud, I ask and find out that they are on some godforsaken PC and a headset made by who-knows-who. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 15
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,296member
    A friend of mine is a university professor in Europe and told me last year when one of his students noticed he was using an iPhone he came up to him utterly puzzled and asked him why on Earth he would be using an iPhone.
    Simple: my time and my privacy are valuable to me.  Time I don't have to spend configuring my phone and learning dozens of different app user interfaces is time I can spend enjoying real life activities.

    Tell them to watch The Social Dilemma and learn how apps which harvest and monetize your information are actually designed to keep you engaged & using them more than is necessary to perform a task so they can harvest as much as possible.  Not unlike the design of slot machines.
    edited June 3 watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 15
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,400member
    For all the people calling on Apple to port iMessages to Android, I have one question. A sincere question. Would you be happy or upset if Apple did port the program but then charged users a small fee (either per message or $20/year for the Android app) or required users to have an Apple One subscription in order to use the iMessage services?

    Basically, what I'm asking you is whether you expect free services from Apple or are you willing to pay for those services? I'm just asking a fair question, I'm not trying to insult anyone here.
    I don't think you thought through things before asking the silly/rhetorical question. Whom are you targetting this question at? Android phone users (like myself, Avon B7 etc) OR iPhone users who have friends using Android phones?

    From Android phone users perspective, we don't even care whether/if iMessages is available in Google Play Store. Even if Apple made it available either free or for a cost, we (most of us, I cannot speak for all in any case) are NOT going to use it by any stretch of imagination. We already have our own choices - whatsapp, signal, telegram etc. And we are not going to bother moving from current messaging service (Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram/whatever that is being used) to another service just because it is provided by Apple.

    Coming to iOS users (who have friends with Android phones) who are asking for this feature to be made available in Android - are you expecting them to pay a Monthly/Annual fee for iMessages in their friend's Android phones on behalf their friends? Why would they?

    You have to understand and remember this point - Almost all of the people who are asking for iMessages to be made available in Android are actually iOS users, NOT Android users. If you conducted a poll among Android users whether they want Apple to make iMessages available for Android - less than 0.1% of the users might say Yes. More than 99% of the Android users would ask the question - "What is iMessages and why should/would I bother with it? I don't care whether iMessage is available in Google Play store or not". It is the iOS users who want to have the "convenience" of using a single messaging platform (iMessages) to connect with their friends (including the ones using Android phones), not the other way around.
    Your arguments might be slightly convincing if you cited credible sources for your claims (eg, "less than 0.1% of the users might say Yes") but I suspect you make up your facts out of your head, or some other part of your body.

    I stated exactly whom I was asking my sincere question to, so there was no need to ask me who my question was directed at. And I said it was sincere, so you should take that at face value instead of accusing me of lying. I'll repeat myself - I was sincere.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 15
    croprcropr Posts: 1,046member

    Please, Apple, PLEASE make iMessage cross platform so my European friends don’t nag me to join WhatsApp. It’s become the de facto messaging system and Apple is only hurting its own business by isolating its platform.
    A friend of mine is a university professor in Europe and told me last year when one of his students noticed he was using an iPhone he came up to him utterly puzzled and asked him why on Earth he would be using an iPhone. All his students and all but 2 of the faculty, including him, are android users. And they all use whatsapp and FB Messenger.
    Why allow Facebook to monopolize this market?
    Lovely post. Even Google recognizes that 'Apple is eating their lunch ' when it comes to privacy. IMHO, you should just tell your professor friend that if he cares one little about privacy then using bog-standard Android with FB and WhatsApp is not the way to go.
    I took the stance years ago that anyone who wanted me to sign up to FB etc in order to keep in touch then they were not the sort of people I wanted to know long term. A few understood my reasoning and we remain friends but without anti-social media.
    Maybe you are unaware but WhatsApp is secure and in the EU, Facebook is not allowed to share any WhatsApp usage data with the rest of the Facebook ecosystem, thanks to the GDPR rules.   So when beginning this year Facebook changed is privacy policy of Whatsapp, Facebook had to make a special EU version without the sharing of usage data.
    In other words, WhatsApp is in the EU an isolated environment.   One does not need a Facebook account to use it.  And the professor does not have to worry about privacy when using WhatsApp.
    Maybe this is the reason why Whatsapp has become the standard messaging app in the EU.     To give you an idea:   in the Netherlands "Whatsapping" or the shorter  "Apping" is the word used to communicate with eachother using a messaging app.

    edited June 5
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