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Facebook Reportedly Testing Voice Commands on Messenger

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Facebook (FB - Free Report) is trying to make its platform simpler and easier to use by adding various functionalities. The company is reportedly working on voice commands to send messages, initiate calls and create reminders on Messenger.

Per TechCrunch, the new M assistant button positioned at the top of the message thread screen will activate listening for voice commands for those functionalities. The new function will also help it cater to international users whose native languages are difficult to type, adds TechCrunch.

Why the Push?

Facebook is leaving no stone unturned to target more users. The company’s user base continues to grow at a significant pace driven by new features and tools that improve engagement.

Notably, Facebook messenger had 1.3 billion monthly active users (MAUs) as of the last reported quarter. The company is witnessing a lot of connections between businesses and consumers on the messaging platform. Including automated messages, more than 8 billion messages are exchanged between people and businesses per month.

We note that the social media platform is aggressively working on monetizing the opportunities presented by its various platforms. On the last earnings call, management mentioned that the company is focused on building out the business ecosystem around messaging on Messenger and WhatsApp over the next five years.

Management is also optimistic about click-to-Messenger ads, which, they believe, when put in News Feed in Instagram and Messenger, will help grow the ecosystem and create new opportunities for interaction.

The company’s inbox ads, which are still at an early stage, are also enabling advertisers to extend their reach to Messenger users.  Moreover, sponsored messages are also a positive as these enable businesses to re-engage people once a conversation has started.

Management mentioned that the format of Messenger has been done keeping in mind direct correspondence between an existing or a potential client with a business.

Furthermore, the company recently announced that it now has 300 million daily active users (DAU) of Stories on its main platform and Messenger on a combined basis.

Moreover, by making Messenger more attractive, it is believed that the company will be able to better compete with other texting platforms such as SMS, Snap owned Snapchat and Alphabet’s Android Messages among others.

We therefore believe that by taking such initiatives, Facebook will able to bring in more ad dollars, which remain the mainstay of the company’s revenues with over 95% contribution.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Facebook currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

A few better-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector are Aspen Technology (AZPN - Free Report) , Veeva Systems (VEEV - Free Report) and j2 Global (JCOM - Free Report) , each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks Rank #1 stocks here.

Long-term earnings growth rate for Aspen, Veeva and j2 Global is currently projected to be 16.5%, 19.3% and 8% respectively.

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