Facebook Messenger is getting an upgrade. If you use the messaging app already, you know how streamlined and efficient it already is. The company just announced new features, though, that can take this to a new level. Facebook’s chat app wants to give you more ability to “do” things within it. For those who are using Android or iOS systems with Messenger, you now have the ability to use these two new features right away. The product was launched in the United States this week and will be expanding to other countries, including Canada, soon.
What Features Does It Offer?
The two key upgrades will include group chat Polls as well as AI payment suggestions.
Polls will allow the user to write a question and include some possible suggested answers to it in a standard poll-like setting. Then, you can send that poll to a group of people within the Messenger app. A simple function of this poll feature, for example, could be asking a group of friends to pick between three restaurants to meet at for dinner. Each member can choose an answer and you can then make a decision.
While Facebook used a different design for this type of question-asking feature previously, the new method is more updated and streamlined. And, other apps that enable communication, such as Twitter, Google+ and Tinder all already offer this type of feature. Nevertheless, Facebook Messenger really is the primary tool for many people and this app really does create the accessibility you need.
The secondary feature offered by the new update has to do with payments. The second component is also one of the most interesting. This new “chat assist” feature allows for payments to be made between people within the app. What makes it interesting is that it uses machine learning to scan the test you’ve sent to a friend and looks for any signs that you need to send money. For example, it may see a message that you owe someone money. When this happens, Messenger will insert an easy to use payment button just below the message. It even configures that message to the specific dollar amount mentioned in the message (if it is mentioned). Of course, you don’t have to send the money, but this in-app feature is quite helpful.
The company’s friend-to-friend payments are not new (those were launched in early 2015). But this AI feature makes it far more streamlined to send apps. You can now make a payment right as you are conversing with your friend. The company’s use of this component, of course, pulls users away from other app-based payments such as those already in place by Square Cash, PayPal and Venmo.
As always, the move Facebook is making here is to make communicating more interactive and efficient. These two updates to the Messenger app are likely to be easy to use and simply to incorporated into your day-to-day use of the communication app.