By @TheMarkDalton.

Remember when Facebook forced us to download Messenger as a standalone app and cut off access through the main app? People flipped out at the time, some people even went to the point of saying they were ditching Facebook for good in a big rant filled post on their Facebook page. Turns out Facebook’s idea at the time was not so bad after all.

The messenger app has just surpassed 800 million users which makes it the fastest growing app of 2015. Facebook Messenger now has more monthly active users than rivals Snapchat and Viber however it still lags behind the 900 million monthly users on WhatsApp. Thats not such a big deal though as WhatsApp is owned by Facebook.

WhatsApp was the first app of its kind to allow users to send and receive free texts by using WiFi or data connections instead and as a result bypassing the network allowances and charges. It soon became a staple form of communication and has seen other apps arise on the same principles such as Messenger, Snapchat, Viber, iMessage and Hangouts.

Messenger allows users to send and receive free texts however it also allows free video calling and some business services. This year, Facebook seems to have big plans for the Messenger platform and the head of Messenger, David Marcus told Huffington Post that:

“One of the things we have to work on this year is this perception or mindset that Messenger is only to speak with your Facebook friends.”

Facebook wants to start making money from ads on Messenger however there have been no plans revealed yet on how Facebook plans on doing that. They currently make money through ads by having them appear on people’s news feeds.

Facebook have also been testing a new digital assistant called “M” that runs via Messenger and can make restaurant reservations and airline bookings along with other various tasks. At the moment the M service is only available to 10,000 people in San Francisco however Facebook are hoping to expand on that this year.

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