Facebook turns Messenger into a text message killer

The text message might be 20 years old – but Facebook is now looking to hurry it into the grave. The giant social network, which has now passed a billion users, has just announced that it is updating its “Messenger” app for Android so that anyone can sign up using just their name and phone number, and then send messages to Facebook contacts via their data plan, rather than as texts.The app connects the phone number and name to a Facebook account, and validates against that.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/dec/04/facebook-messenger-android-sms-killerAlso see:Facebook’s new Messenger app: Path to the next billion users?
It may seem odd to talk about user growth for Facebook, which with 1 billion-plus members is already more than three times the size of the entire U.S. population. But much of what the company does boils down to just that: How to add the next billion users? And then the billion after that?And that’s why today’s announcement that Facebook is revamping its mobile messenger app is such a big deal. If it works — and that’s still a big if — Facebook may be able to reel in many of the holdouts who so far have resisted the social craze. Equally important, Facebook would be able to cultivate relationships with a massive number of people across the globe who are bypassing the personal computer entirely and accessing the online world directly through their phones.
news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57557040-93/facebooks-new-messenger-app-path-to-the-next-billion-users/

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