In a blog post, Facebook has predicted the disappearance of the phone number in 2016.
Published on its Newsroom page, the article focuses on the growth of the Messenger app in the year gone by but makes a number of forecasts for ‘trends’ in the year ahead.
Facebook also revealed a rather nicely designed infographic (see below).
Their prediction on the death of the phone number centres around past trends with SMS messaging, flip phones, video calling and location sharing. They’re keen to point out that you no longer need a phone number to register a Facebook account too and there is little doubt that, when you can reach people by calling them on email addresses or other methods of connectivity that don’t rely on a traditional number, their prediction will probably come true – but we’d be surprised to see it happen in 2016 or 2017.
Their data on Messenger shows that over 800,000,000 (yes, 800 million) people a month now use it.
The infographic also reminds us how many features they’ve added to the popular app in 2015, including video calling, enhanced location sharing, photo magic and the recent ‘transportation platform’ (the ability to call an Uber cab from within the app in the USA).
Apps in Messenger
The article mentions how they’re working on the development of apps to engage with businesses in Messenger, with this paragraph:
“Our early tests in 2015 with brands are showing that interactions will happen more and more in your Messenger threads, so we’ll continue making it easy for you to engage with businesses, and we’ll also do more to enable additional businesses and services to build the right experience in conversations.”
Digital Virtual Assistant
Facebook‘s “M”, their digital virtual assistant, gets a mention too.
They stress it is in “very, very early” stages but that they aim to make life simpler on tasks such as sending flowers, booking a restaurant and making plans.
We just can’t think of “M” without thinking of James Bond!