There are a lot of messaging apps out there, but do you make use of Facebook’s Messenger app? If so, you are part of an 800 million-strong community of active monthly users – and that number is only set to climb as time goes on.

Facebook recently released a number of rather interesting statistics on the Messenger platform, like that 9.5 billion photos are sent to friends through Messenger every month, but what is interesting is that messages sent to businesses on Facebook has doubled in the past year.

Besides the fact that Messenger was the fastest growing app of 2015 in the US, on average, more than five million GIFs are sent every day through it. If you need further proof of how quickly people adopted it, a million people downloaded the app in two days after launching video calling.

According to Facebook’s own stats, it is also slowly killing to traditional telephone in terms of calling, as Messenger accounts for more than 10% of all mobile VoIP calls globally.

“Now, many of us can do so much more on our phones; we went from just making phone calls and sending basic text-only messages to having computers in our pockets. And just like the flip phone is disappearing, old communication styles are disappearing too,” wrote Facebook’s David Marcus, Vice President of Messaging Products, in a blog post.

Looking at the year ahead, Marcus said that Facebook is making good progress on M, its virtual assistant.

“Our test of M, our digital virtual assistant, powered by human-trained AI, is going well. It’s still very, very early days, but the growing AI capabilities are bringing unparalleled convenience to simple, everyday tasks like booking a restaurant, sending flowers, and making plans.”

But innovation needs a theme, as it can’t be done just for the sake of doing something new. For Facebook, it’s about being “delightful and helpful”.

“It’s really important that we build products that solve real problems for people. We want all of our experiences to be delightful and helpful, and to make your life easier, but we also want to empower you to put a smile on the faces of those people who matter the most in your life.”

Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.