I read today, in the New York Times, about the most recent addition to Facebook's Messenger app - the ability to request a ride from Uber within the app. Facebook announced the ability for developers to integrate into Messenger, but until now it's been a little limited and predictable. Is Uber's utilization a better indication of things to come?
Until now, its fair to say that the apps available on the Messenger platform have fallen under the "fun" category; no problem there. With 44 apps listed in their showcase at the time of writing, this looks like a gold-rush waiting to happen, and it seems relatively straightforward to do, although I am unsure about the review process involved.
There's a great interview in Wired with David Marcus from Facebook about the Messenger app, and how M, the AI side of things that is currently only available in San Francisco, will completely change how people think about apps. It's Facebook's own answer to Siri, Google Now and Cortana, but surely Facebook have the edge here on the Messenger platform as it is text based rather than including the additional overhead of voice recognition.
The AI Research team are doing some amazing things, skillfully demonstrated by Mike Schroepfer at WebSummit this year.
All these pieces fit together to show us that the current explosion in the number of apps might be a short lived thing. Rather than seeing additional apps being built, we're likely to see more integrations into sophisticated first-level apps like Facebook Messenger/M (and Google Now).