Facebook is planning on carving out a fresh revenue stream via its Messenger app, with the introduction of an option to chat with businesses directly from within the service.
Business Insider (BI) spotted the move, with Facebook adding a section for ‘Suggested Businesses’ underneath the search bar where you can hunt out people and groups.
Messenger suggests some 20 companies that you might wish to talk with, including the likes of Lyft and Chase, although as BI notes, a lot of the businesses presented seem rather obscure right now (including the likes of small town US newspapers).
Obviously this is a feature which Facebook is still working on, and indeed this may just be an experimental rollout of the system to a small number of users which happened to include the reporter’s account, with the social network testing the waters.
That idea is further reinforced by the fact that the companies highlighted for chat don’t necessarily support chat features – when BI tried to chat with Lyft, the reply received simply indicated that the company didn’t support chat.
Of course all this will change in the future when the feature is fully rolled out (which it presumably will be), and it’ll be extra cash for Facebook as doubtless the idea will be to charge organisations to be highlighted for chat.
Facebook is thinking more and more about businesses these days, and of course hasFacebook at Work on the boil – the service hasn’t officially launched yet, but should do very soon (it’s already being tested quite widely).
Again, that will have a monetisation angle, with companies being charged for Facebook at Work premium services such as analytics and tech support.
For the employee, the service will be broadly the same as everyday Facebook, but with bolstered security – and of course you can forget about playing games like Candy Crush.