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    With New Platforms Facebook Looks to Make Phone Numbers a Thing of the Past

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    Just as the flip phone is on its way out, the head of the Facebook Messenger app believes old means of communication -- down to something as basic as the telephone number -- will soon be a distant memory.

    Multifunctional communication platforms will replace phones as we know them, David Marcus wrote in his blog Thursday. Rather than calling, texting and sharing multimedia, users of apps like Messenger are able to send money, GIFs, stickers, voice clips, and information about their location via new communication platforms.

    “And just like the flip phone is disappearing, old communication styles are disappearing too,” Marcus noted.

    Messenger has recently passed the threshold of 800 million users, Time reported. Facebook developers began a major push last year to upgrade the app, adding new features to the service that allow users to do everything from making purchases via app, chatting with customer service representatives and ordering rides through Uber.

    ​Marcus pointed out that the goal in this development is to unite as many functions as possible in one multitasking app.

    “It is so much easier to do everything in one place that has the context of your last interactions, as well as your identity — no need to ever log in — rather than downloading apps that you’ll never use again and jumping around from one app to another.”

    Facebook is also looking into employing artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their messaging products.

    For instance, a personal digital assistant integrated into Messenger, called simply “M,” is in the works. It is aimed at completing various tasks on behalf of a user. Though the feature doesn’t yet work properly without the help of human assistants, Marcus said that the project is “going well.”

    When Facebook decided to split Messenger from their main social network app, users lambasted the idea because of the need to download them separately. Despite that, Messenger rapidly climbed to the top spot of the App Store’s chart of free apps.

     

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    smartphone app, App store, Apple app, Messenger application, Facebook, United States
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