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Facebook has big plans for its Messenger app

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David Cornish
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Facebook Messenger wants to be your favourite app.

In a recent update, it added a new bell and an additional whistle: user can now access their Dropbox account straight from the app, and video chat now has a new 'Chat Head' function - letting you pop video chats into a smaller bubble, enabling you to use the rest of your smartphone screen for other tasks.

But this is just tip of the veritable iceberg of features Facebook is about to announce at its annual F8 developer conference.

Keen observers have spotted that, in a recent update to the current Messenger app, Facebook has dropped a big hint for its ambitions to see companies integrate 'custom service' functions into the app.

The new update now sees a category previously listed as "Business" become "Bots and Businesses" - a clear indication that chatbots will soon start arriving on Messenger, allowing users to communicate with companies via 'intelligent' robots. 

These could vary from simple interactions - like booking an Uber from your current location or reserving a table at a local restaurant - to more complex communications, like arranging for a specific bunch of flowers to be delivered to someone's address. 

A Live Chat function is also thought to be set to arrive as well, linking you directly to a real-life human at a company via a Messenger contact. Think of it like a customer service phone line, but all via Facebook's app.

We'll find out for sure when Facebook begins its F8 conference at 17:00 on 12 April. 

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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