Facebook is trying to make it easier to get in touch with people over Messenger, so it's rolling out a number of new ways to start chatting. As with all Facebook accounts, all Messenger accounts will now have dedicated links that people can visit to start a chat — they'll all be located at m.me/[username]. Facebook is also rolling out what it calls Messenger Codes, which are Messenger's equivalent to Snapchat's snapcodes. They look pretty neat: Messenger Codes are just a series of dots and dashes circling around your profile photo. When someone scans one with their camera, it'll presumably add that person as a contact.
If you're wondering why any of this is necessary, since there's a very good chance you're already Facebook friends with the people you'd be interested in chatting with, it's important to look ahead to where Facebook wants Messenger to be by the end of the year. Messenger is no longer just a place where you chat with your friends: it'll soon be a place where you can chat with companies and customer service bots, and have useful information sent to you — like your boarding pass for a flight. When you consider all of that, Messenger Codes make a lot more sense. If you want to start up a chat with a company's customer service account, you just scan their code and get started.
Image credit: Facebook.
Messenger Codes, like all Facebook products, are "rolling out gradually" — "But it shouldn't be too long," says Messenger leader David Marcus. Messenger profile links are already working. If you type in a friend's username after m.me/, it should open up a chat with them on Messenger.com, Facebook's dedicated Messenger site. Usernames on Messenger are the same username you use on Facebook itself.
In addition to announcing these new features, Facebook also announced a new milestone for Messenger: it now has 900 million monthly active users. That's a big deal for Facebook, as it means it has yet another property nearing in on 1 billion monthly users. WhatsApp hit that mark in February; Facebook has been at that point for a while now, and in November it began averaging 1 billion active users each day.
It sounds like it might not be long before Messenger hits 1 billion, too. Messenger hit 800 million just three months ago, and hit 700 million just seven months before that. It's already experiencing rapid growth, and with the addition of all the new services that Facebook is trying to build into Messenger, there'll be even more reason to open up the app soon.