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Facebook says humans and bots are the new apps in 2016

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Messenger hits 800 million users

Facebook thinks it knows what the future of mobile computing is, and — surprise, surprise — it apparently looks a lot like Messenger. In a blog post celebrating the company's stand-alone chat app reaching the milestone of 800 million monthly users (making it the fastest growing app of 2015, according to Nielsen), Facebook's vice president of messaging David Marcus spells out a future in which everyone does business through Messenger conversations. Or, as a sub-heading in Marcus' post puts it: "Threads are the new apps."

"It is so much easier to do everything in one place."

"At Messenger we’re thinking about how we can help you interact with businesses or services to buy items (and then buy more again), order rides, purchase airline tickets, and talk to customer service in truly frictionless and delightful ways," writes Marcus. "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 login — rather than downloading apps that you’ll never use again and jumping around from one app to another."

It's an idea that Facebook has been building on for a while, adding more and more functionality to Messenger, such as letting people make payments using the app or order an Uber. Asian chat apps like Line and WeChat have led the way in this regard, allowing users to handle all sorts of business through the one app, and now Western tech companies are following suit. Switching to this new way of doing business won't be limited to Messenger though, and bots — a topic that Marcus mentions in the context of Facebook's virtual assistant M — are going to be key in making the change. Marcus also notes that phone numbers are slowly becoming less important, and that Facebook benefits from this trend as it provides a single, shareable identity for people to contact. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, Facebook thinks the future looks pretty bright for Messenger in 2016.