Wondering why there are balloons popping up randomly on your Facebook newsfeed or during conversations? It’s Facebook’s way of celebrating a Messenger milestone with the world; more than one billion people now use it every month!
On reaching one billion users, Facebook said: “We’re grateful for all the people who are sending billions of messages every day and we hope to send 1 billion thank yous in the form of a new floating balloon gift that everyone can use to celebrate. Just send a balloon emoji to your friends to add a touch of whimsy and delight to any conversation.”
So when did Messenger become so popular and why? We go back a few years…
One of Facebook’s first apps
Launched in 2011, Messenger was one of Facebook’s very first standalone apps.
Facebook created the app to allow users to ‘express themselves’ in ways they can’t via text messaging. What that means we’re not quite sure!
Since its launch the App hasn’t stood still, with some of the updates including the ability to create group chats, send photos, voice/video call, send GIFs and see who’s online at the same time. You don’t even need a Facebook account to sign up for Messenger, just your mobile number!
With so many new updates since Messenger’s launch in 2011, is there any more room for improvement?
Always! Facebook’s latest updates surround the security of messages. Earlier this month, developers announced they would be rolling out new ‘secret conversations’.
Don’t worry that doesn’t mean everyone can see your current conversations, but secret conversations will have enhanced security; ‘end-to-end encryption’ (those of you using Whatsapp will have seen this message being rolled out on their own platform over the past six months or so). This means the conversation can only be read on one device. For example, if you send a message via your tablet, you can only read it on your tablet.
Facebook says: “That means the messages are intended just for you and the other person — not anyone else, including us. Within a secret conversation, you can also choose to set a timer to control the length of time each message you send remains visible within the conversation.” (sounds just a little bit like Snapchat doesn’t it!).
Facebook is currently testing the concept and gathering feedback so watch this space!