SAN FRANCISCO---Gone are the days when Facebook was just a simple online social space where one could find photos and the latest updates from friends.
Now the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company is positioning itself as the ultimate online destination for serving all mobile needs, from gaming to customer service.
"Facebook has really evolved in how we connect the world," said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, "Facebook used to be this single blue app that did a lot of different apps. Now Facebook is a family of apps."
To achieve one (or any) of its many ambitious goals, Facebook is making much bigger moves to woo not just developers but also advertisers, marketers, sales professionals and content producers.
It had been expected earlier this week that Facebook would outline additions to its ever-increasing portfolio of advertising and marketing tools as well as plans for a mobile exchange and demand side platform.
Facebook is opening up Messenger in particular with an app-specific platform, suggesting room for more third-party app integrations for direct content sharing. More than 40 apps are already supporting Facebook Messenger Platform as of today. An SDK is also now available.
Everyday users might want to use this for sharing funny images and memes from sites like Giphy, but the marketing potential has also been established through the debut of Facebook Messenger Business.
Launching with a few e-commerce players (i.e. Everlane) initially, brands could use Messenger Business for communicating directly with customers in the same vein as Twitter or even Zendesk, among other cloud-based customer service platforms.
"I don't know anyone who likes calling businesses," Zuckerberg remarked. "It's not fast and convenient, and it definitely doesn't feel like the future."
Speaking at the launch of the social network's annual F8 developer summit, Zuckerberg picked up the baton from last year's show, promising much more than stability and security updates.
Over the next two days, Facebook will be unveiling a bevy of mobile and desktop goodies for developers, advertisers, and users, such as the addition of "futuristic" spherical videos through its Oculus Rift subsidiary and new sharing capabilities connecting the dots within Facebook's burgeoning portfolio of mobile apps.
Zuckerberg cited there are approximately 300 million users on Instagram, 600 million on Facebook Messenger, 700 million on Facebook Groups and 700 million on Whatsapp.
As of its last earnings statement in January, the world's largest social network had approximately 1.39 billion monthly active users worldwide.
Zuckerberg provided an update on Wednesday, asserting there are more than 1.4 billion users worldwide now.
On the Q4 report, the number of mobile monthly active users grew by 26 percent to 1.19 billion worldwide. Facebook also had more than two million advertisers, up from 1.5 million last July. Mobile advertising accounted for 69 percent of total advertising revenue, which rang up to $3.59 billion in Q4, up from 53 percent the same time last year.
More to come...