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Facebook Messenger 2015's fastest-growing app

Facebook has said its Messenger app has reached a record number of users. It hopes that millions more can be lured by the introduction of more features and services in the course of the current year.

Facebook announced Thursday the number of people using its Messenger app at least once a month had shot past 800 million users, making it the fastest-growing app in 2015, according to research firm Nielsen.

This means that Messenger now has more active users than its rivals Snapchat and Viber, but still lags the 900 million using WhatsApp. However, that won't worry Facebook management much - because WhatsApp is also owned by Facebook.

The San Francisco-based company

said it was planning to introduce additional features to Messenger to win over even more users.

Last month, Facebook had already announced an alliance with Uber, enabling people in the US to summon cars from the ride-sharing service via the Messenger application.

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"One of the things we have to work on this year is this perception or mindset that Messenger is only to speak with your Facebook friends," the company's David Marcus said in a statement.

Facebook has begun testing a "digital assistant" operating through Messenger that enables people to make restaurant reservations and airline bookings.

The service is available to only 10,000 people in the San Francisco Bay area, but the company hopes to offer it to more users later this year.

Facebook also plans to make money from ads on Messenger, but has not yet revealed when exactly it will do so.

hg/nz (AFP, Reuters)

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