Facebook challenges BlackBerry Messenger
|10 Aug 2011 2:37 BST||Back|
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Facebook has set its sights on the mobile instant messaging market, with the launch of a new app in the US.
Facebook Messenger lets users send messages directly to their Facebook friends’ mobiles or anyone else in the user’s phone address book. The message is sent either by text or a Facebook notification.
The new app, which works on iPhones and Android phones, will link Facebook messages with text, emails and chat on a mobile phone. The key difference with Facebook’s existing chat service is that users can send messages to people who aren’t signed up to Facebook.
This bid to rival BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), which has more than 45 million users worldwide, comes at a time when BBM is in the spotlight as the alleged communication tool of choice for those involved in the London riots.
The app also supports location services, thus allowing users to alert their friends of their current location using their mobile phone’s GPS.
Data will be a key issue when the app eventually launches in the UK, as Facebook has yet to confirm how or where data will be stored. However, data protection watchdogs in Europe and the UK will be keeping a close eye on Facebook, which tends to store data in the US.