Is Facebook drawing inspiration from Asian messaging apps?

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Facebook has made some significant moves recently in the mobile world — releasing a Snapchat competitor in Slingshot and hiring away David Marcus from PayPal to lead mobile messaging.

As Marcus’ hiring leads many to see a time when Facebook users can someday send money through Messenger, Tango Chief Technology Officer Eric Setton notes that several Asian messaging apps have already mastered the frontier of maximizing time spent on mobile, as well as monetization. He talked with Inside Facebook recently about how Marcus’ hiring signals that Facebook may start borrowing traits from apps such as Tango, WeChat and Line. Tango is a messaging app with 200 million users — 70 million of which are in the U.S., Setton says.

Inside Facebook: What do you think the hiring of David Marcus means for Facebook?

Eric Setton: The way I see it, Facebook is finally noticing and can basically not ignore the innovation happening in other services … and will have to play the game and have to open the platform on the messaging side as well. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that David Marcus has such a strong expertise in payments. If you have an app that people check 30 or 40 times a day, that’s a great opportunity to be able to connect you to more things. I think this is a great bridge to commerce and distribution at large.

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PayPal President David Marcus joins Facebook to improve mobile messaging

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Not long after a new Facebook messaging app was discovered, Facebook announced that PayPal President David Marcus has joined the company as Vice President of Messaging Products.

He will work to improve the Facebook Messenger app, but a Facebook spokesperson confirmed that WhatsApp will continue to run independently. After the acquisition of his company, Zong, Marcus joined PayPal in 2011 as Vice President of Mobile, leading the company’s mobile payments business. He was promoted to President last year.

Facebook welcomed Marcus in a Newsroom blog post, explaining his role with the social network:

Messaging is a core part of Facebook’s service and key to achieving our mission of making the world more open and connected. Every day around 12 billion messages are sent on Facebook, and in April we announced that Messenger, our standalone messaging app, is now used by more than 200 million people every month. We’re excited by the potential to continue developing great new messaging experiences that better serve the Facebook community and reach even more people, and David will be leading these efforts.

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UPDATED: Facebook to shutter messaging in flagship app, push for Messenger

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Facebook has been prompting mobile users to invite their friends to download Messenger, but now it appears that soon there won’t be a choice.

Facebook has confirmed to Inside Facebook that Facebook has plans to remove the messaging feature from its flagship mobile app and force the use of Messenger if users want to send messages from their phone or tablet:

Today we are starting to notify people that messages are moving out of the Facebook app and over to the Messenger app. To continue sending messages on mobile, people will need to install the Messenger app.

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Facebook testing new design for Android app?

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It looks like Facebook may be testing a new design for its flagship Android app, bringing home some visual elements — namely, more white — present in its Messenger app.

Inside Facebook reader Thodoris Konsoulas of Greece noticed that the Facebook for Android design is markedly different, as seen above. He is not in the Facebook for Android beta testing group, he noted.

We’ve reached out to Facebook about this and will update the story if we hear back.

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Facebook prompts mobile users to get friends to download Messenger

imageFacebook is making another push for mobile users (and there are many) to download Messenger, the site’s standalone chat app.

This time, Facebook is asking its users to make the pitch.

Reader Matteo Gamba of Wimdu noticed that, while chatting with a friend who doesn’t have Messenger, he was prompted to ask his chat friend to download the app.

Within the conversation, there was a banner on top, prompting Gamba to copy a link to send to his friend.

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Facebook expands new Messenger design test to iOS

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Facebook has expanded its test of a lighter, cleaner version of Messenger into iOS and brought it to more Android users, the site announced today. The newest version of Messenger looks a little more like iOS 7, and allows users to navigate the app easier.

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Facebook tests faster, cleaner version of Messenger for Android

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Facebook on Tuesday launched a test of a drastic redesign to its Messenger for Android app, making it faster and less data-hungry. Previous versions of Messenger have integrated texting, but it is a major feature of this update.

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