Facebook Messenger after WhatsApp's bounty

By removing barriers of entry, the social network has a chance to crack this messaging battle

The ascent of WhatsApp as a serious replacement for traditional SMS texting continues shaking the app world. This time it isn't carriers, but Facebook, who is targeting this growing market of users who simply don't want to pay for every message they send. Unlike their other attempts at world domination, it looks like the social network has understood what makes WhatsApp such a popular app. And they're going to hit it where it hurts.

Facebook has experimented for some time with mobile apps that fulfil an specific need. You may see Poke as a clone of the teen-friendly Snapchat or its Facebook Camera too similar to Instagram. What you're seeing is a company providing a set of tools for individual tasks, actually, more like specific needs. And this is what mobile apps are all about: doing one thing and doing it well. Facebook has finally understood this.

By separating messaging (or chat if you prefer) from its main app, the social network is positioning Facebook Messenger as the to-go destination for keeping in touch with friends. And with it come the features that have helped to propagate apps like WhatsApp and Viber like a virus.

No Facebook account required

There are several reasons why you have deleted your Facebook account or cannot be bothered to enter your email and password credentials on your phone. Messenger will only ask you your name and mobile number, which in turn, is the only information the competition is requiring to start using the service. By removing barriers of entry, the social network has a chance to crack this messaging battle.

Moreover, The Next Web reported plans to enter the voice over data app market with this very same app. Voice note transfer is already a thing and VoIP calls between iOS and Android users are being tested in Canada. Starting this week, The Verge confirms, US iPhone users can test the service. The intentions are clear.

This is what mobile apps are all about: doing one thing and doing it well

Let's remember apps like Skype, Viber or Line use this type of protocol to communicate two people without touching any minutes or allowance from your mobile operator. This usually translates in more data usage. Given the typical carrier pricing plans, using a small amount of data over cellular network will be cheaper for the end customer than a regular call. Labelling these as 'free calls' is a different story.