As I keep saying, messengers (Messenger, WeChat, iMessage, Hangouts, Line, Snapchat etc) are the future of social interaction on the web, so this is a big first step in North America (already happening in Asia just as texting, emoji etc developed there first).
Twitter needs to get its Direct Messaging app and product out there. Quickly.
“Unlike other AI-based services in the market, M can actually complete tasks on your behalf. It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more,” Facebook’s VP of messaging products David Marcus said in a Facebook post.
Messaging is big in Asia. Services like WeChat in China and Line in Japan / Thailand / Indonesia are how people communicate, buy things, book things, and operate. Sort of like how we (the enlightened) are amazed that people live inside of Facebook and think of it as the internet. There are even WeChat Stars like our YouTube stars. It is strange for us in the US to wrap our heads around (or at least me).
However, it won’t be for long. I remember sitting in a presentation by a Rakuten VP (they are a large Asian marketing firm that acquired messaging app Viber last year) at a conference in 2004… they were demonstrating data associated with the rising use of mobile phones to purchase items in stores or do cross comparisons via SMS in SE Asia while using brick-and-mortar stores as showrooms. I was blown away and thought “there’s no way anyone in the US would ever buy something on a mobile phone…certainly not furniture or computers.”
I was wrong. Best Buy is the best showroom Amazon could ever hope for (at least in my personal experience).
Five years from now, everyone in America will live inside the major messaging app that we settle on. Whether that’s FB’s Messenger, WeChat, Line, Snapchat (doubtful), Viber, Hangouts, WhatsApp or something we haven’t heard of yet, we will decry this newfangled “messaging media” and “messaging marketing” and look fondly on the days when we all just had Facebook newsfeeds or Twitter timelines.
Remember ICQ and AIM? We’re going back.
Messaging apps are what comes after “social media.” Facebook gets it. Even Apple (iMessage) and Blackberry (Messenger) get it. Google seems to be dragging its feet, which is scary to me.