Japanese messaging service Line rolled out a new app called Line Here – separate from its popular platform – that allows users to share their location with multiple parties, in real time.
I find it interesting that Line – which is very popular in Asia, but trails Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger in the US – is unbundling features from its core app. In recent months, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and iMessage have adopted some of the clustered features of non-US messaging services like Line, Kik, and Viber. Whatsapp now offers wi-fi calling, Facebook Messenger boasts mobile payments functionality, and iMessage allows users to share their location — all features previously available on non-US messaging platforms.
I think that Line may be experimenting with the unbundled approach as a means of trying to more forcefully enter the US market, before Whatsapp, iMessage and Facebook Messenger have completely saturated the space. I’d be surprised if Line Here gained real traction, and I think it’s only a matter of time before Facebook Messenger gobbles up that functionality, too.