VentureBeat has the story today of Facebook’s new partnership with Dutch airline KLM to integrate boarding passes, flight information, and customer service into Messenger.
And it’s compelling to see how many other services Facebook challenges in just one initiative:
- Apple – granted, Passbook was never really a money-making proposition for Apple, but it was one way of keeping customers within Apple’s halo of software and services. Less so, now. And, obviously, Messenger is also cross-platform.
- Google – Less online search, less use of Gmail, since research and communication is now sandboxed within FB Messenger.
- Twitter – Twitter is really an excellent tool for customer service, especially around airline stuff. The Economist even went so far as to rank airlines by the speed and empathy of their Twittter customer service.
I should also emphasize the sheer size of Messenger. It has 800 million active users, trailing only QQ (a Chinese chat app), WhatsApp (owned by FB) and, of course, FB itself. Business integrations like this aren’t going to be an overnight sea change like Instagram or Snapchat, but they will change the medium-term habits of how individuals interact with retailers and brands. As I wrote:
Facebook’s strategy is predicated upon slowly gobbling up the functionality of other standalone apps….And although it can’t own the device ecosystem, it’s slowly sliding a blue, chat-bubble shaped horse into Apple and Google’s camp.
But can we talk about that airline ticket in the VentureBeat photo above? $4,000 for a flight to Amsterdam?! Who are you, Mark Zuckerberg?
Disclosure: I own shares of Facebook. But that doesn’t mean I get those KLM tickets for free.