Facebook Messenger recently hit a HUGE milestone: the texting app from Facebook now has over a billion monthly active users worldwide. To understand how big a deal that is, it’s important to realize that few apps can boast of a monthly active user base that large. Facebook (the app) hit the billion monthly active user milestone back in 2012, while Facebook-owned WhatsApp hit it earlier this year in 2016. Announcing the milestone, Facebook said in a blog post:
“People use Messenger to connect with the people and businesses they care most about. They make plans, share dreams, send payments, tell jokes, play games, let their loved ones know they’re thinking of them and much, much more. Today we are announcing that more than 1 billion people now use Facebook Messenger every month, making Messenger one of only a handful of apps worldwide that touch so many lives. We’re grateful for all the people who are sending billions of messages every day and we hope to send 1 billion thank yous in the form of a new floating balloon gift that everyone can use to celebrate. Just send a balloon emoji to your friends to add a touch of whimsy and delight to any conversation.”
But of course, the app is more than just a simple texting app, though many might not know it. With that in mind, here are the top Facebook Messenger tips and tricks you need to know.
Make free voice and video calls
So many people think Messenger only allows you to send texts, but the app is actually a full-fledged communications tool. That’s right, you can make free calls and video chats to other Messenger users. To initiate a call or video chat, just tap the phone or camera icon inside the message thread with that contact. Alternately you can select the contact from the “Calls” tab in the app.
Share your location
Ever wish there was an easier way to reply to someone when they send you a Messenger message asking “Where u at?” Well, with Messenger you can actually reply with your exact location. Simply tap the [•••] button in the message thread and then tap the Location button. You’ll be able to send them your exact location on a map or choose a nearby location, for example if you want them to meet you somewhere you haven’t arrived at yet.
Send people money
Messenger offers a free tool to send money to friends and family. To set it up, tap the [•••] button and then tap “Payments”. Enter the amount you want to send and then your debit card information. The transfer of money isn’t as quick as Paypal—it takes a few days for it to be taken out of your bank account and put into your friend’s—but it is totally free. That’s right, there are no charges.
Mute annoying people
Ever get annoying messages from people you really don’t want to talk to? I thought so. Well, you can easily mute them so you’ll no longer be notified of new replies. To do so swipe left on their message thread and tap the Mute button. You can then choose to mute their messages for 15 minutes, 1 hour, 8 hours, 24 hours, or until you manually un-mute them.
Talk to brands via bots
Facebook has teamed up with a startup called Zendesk, which enables brands to interact with you via Messenger. Let’s say, for example, you order something from Everlane. If you enter in your Facebook details when you place your order, Everlane will send you updates on its status via Messenger. You can then reply to these updates to get basic customer service notifications.
Install other apps in Messenger
Did you know Messenger is its own platform now? That’s right, you can install apps inside Messenger. Many of these apps are keyboard or GIF apps, but more are being added all the time. To install and app tap the [•••] button in Messenger. You’ll see a list of all the apps you can install and use in Messenger.
Use Messenger without a Facebook account
You actually don’t need a Facebook account to use Messenger. If you don’t have a Facebook account you can open a Messenger account with your phone number. On the setup screen tap the “Not on Facebook?” button and enter your phone number on the next screen. This will allow you to use Messenger with the other 1 billion people in the world using it.
Hail an Uber
Yep, you can hail an Uber right within the Messages app. All you need to do is log into your Uber account via the “Transportation” section of Messenger’s settings to get started. Then tap any address link in Messenger and from the popup that appears select “Request a ride” and your Uber will be on its way.